A record 15 teams crowded into the Lynch Sports Centre in Dundee for the U18 Scottish Cup Qualification Tournament. The competition now in its 4th year and this was definitely the highest standard across the board yet.
The day started off with a thrilling match between Perth & Kinross and Stromness Academy, who had made the journey over from Orkney for their Junior Volleyball debut. They didn’t let the occasion get to them as they came racing out the traps taking the first set 25-18. The match was delicately poised after P&K levelled 25-19 but Stromness found an impressive level in block defence to stop P&K scoring running out 15-6 winners in the tie-break.
Their reward was a match against South Ayrshire who overcame James Gillespie’s NUVOC. A match the Orcadians would narrowly lose 23-25, 18-25.
Stromness would now need to overcome City of Edinburgh in the Semi-Final, after the Edinburgh side defeated the challenge of Beacon and Cavalry Park NUVOC 2-0.
The semi-final had everything the spectators wanted, a real net battle between the two sides. It was CoE who edged the first set with some strong tactical scoring from CoE’s outside hitters. In the 2nd set Stromness threw everything at their opponents with some great defence throughout, finding a way of getting a limb to everything to somehow keep it alive. Some great blocking, including a ‘monster block’ from Aaron Leith, to give Stromness set point which they won to take the semi-final to a tense tie-break.
The fairy-tale debut in junior volleyball finished there however, as a strong serving run from Fraser Glass racking up six points was too much for the Orkney boys as City of Edinburgh closed out the set 15-7 and with it, secured their place in the final.
Beacon defeated Cavalry Park NUVOC 2-0 (25-23, 25-19) in a very closely fought match to secure the final semi-final slot.
In the 2nd semi-final South Ayrshire took on Beacon Blaze, it has been a great debut season for the boys from Aberdeen, however, a final place was a little bit too far, some great rallies but the power and presence at the net for the Ayrshire boys proved to be too big a factor. Jack Rankin was able to utilise his middle hitters to great effect as South booked their place in the final with a 25-10, 25-12 straight set victory.
In the fight for 5th place Perth & Kinross cast aside both NUVOC teams in straight sets securing 5th place. In the final game of teh day, Cavalry Park NUVOC edged the NUVOC derby against James Gillespie’s with the NUVOC girls watching on, it was a great way to finish the day for the Edinburgh Juniors outfit, with a record three teams in attendance at the competition.
In the seeding for the semi-finals Marr A beat Marr B in straight sets in the Marr derby, while a strong serving City of Edinburgh team overcame their closest rivals Aberdeen Grammar 2-0 (25-15, 25-17)
In the battle for the 5th position Cavalry Park NUVOC overcame AGS B and COE B to register their highest finish in the competition. Aberdeen had a great presence throughout the day and the last game for the 7th/8th play-off featured Aberdeen B and Aberdeen C with Aberdeen A as the allocated officials. It was a brilliant atmosphere created by all the Aberdeen girls, with some exciting talent coming through the clubs ranks had the freedom to express themselves.
The first semi- semi saw Marr College B take on City of Edinburgh and some brilliant scramble play saw them lead all the way to 19-18 before a strong run of serves from Rachel Ferguson gave COE set point and they closed out the semi-final 2-0.
The day ended in spectacular fashion, with all other courts finished the crowd, players and coaches descended on court one to watch the end of the semi-final between Marr College and Aberdeen Grammar. The Girls from the Granite City took the 1st set 25-20 before Marr levelled 25-17 to set up a race to 15 for a spot in the final. What a set of volleyball it was… long rallies, power hitting, scramble defence all played out amongst the tension of the spectacle. The opportunity looked to have passed for AGS as they found themselves 3-9 down before captain and recent Scotland call-up Shona Fraser took to the service line and bravely battled back to 8-9. It would end in vane as Marr saw out the game 15-12 and secure a 4th consecutive U18 Scottish Cup Final place.
Althought the result at the end of the day is a repeat of the previous two years finalists; this does not tell the whole story. There was a record number of teams in the competition, all of who competed with great sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game. There was some very close matches between teams who are bridging the gap to compete at the top. There was fantastic development work going on with the youngest players and teams with many still with many more years at U18 level to develop their game. There was a total of 21 coaches in the sports hall all competing against each other while sharing, talking and discussing ideas out with game time. This is what it is all about!
Many Thanks to Albert Jaster, Dominik Sirant, Jamie Salvin & Mitchell Brown for a Steller job throughout the day on the officiating front and to everyone else who played their part in making such a great day; Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Parents, Drivers etc. .
U18 Boys Scottish Cup Final: City of Edinburgh vs South Ayrshire
U18 Girls Scottish Cup Final: City of Edinburgh vs Marr College
The matches will be played on Sunday 8th April as part of the SVA’s FINALS WEEKEND @ The University of Edinburgh.
Join us again at the Lynch Sports Centre on Sunday 26th March where we do it all again, this time to determine the finalists for the Under 16 Scottish Cup finals.
Club & Participation Development Officer