Semi-Final Saturday 2019 at Perth College UHI was a fantastic special event, with some of the best matches of the season on show. The morning began with the first of the Men’s Plate Semi-Finals; with a rematch from last year between NUVOC II and Mets Vets. But the experience and committed defending of Mets would be too much for the youthful NUVOC II team, who had 5 junior players in the starting six for the third set. That means Mets Vets will be returning to Cup Finals Weekend to attempt to defend their Plate title, this time against Lenzie, who beat Stirling University. The match (available on the SVA Facebook account thanks to our new partner – Swish Live) was a stormer with serve going back and forth between the two teams before Lenzie stepped up and managed to just about close out the set. The second and third sets saw Lenzie race into a small lead and manage to hold
that lead against some power brought by the students.
Over on the other court, the women’s plate began with a masterclass of experience, as Troon Caledonia West Vets showed Edinburgh Jets II their experience can still get them through matches. Despite rallying in the second set, Jets II managed only 14 points in the first and third set combined. That gives Coach Krawczyk another chance to coach his team to success in the Women’s Plate Final, where they’ll play the first of the two Edinburgh University Team – University of Edinburgh II. The visiting team from Orkney shocked the Uni in the first set, with some smart play and almost unbeatable defence, and were unlucky to miss out on the third, as Edinburgh took it 27-25. Set four was more comfortable and meant that at least one Edinburgh Uni team would be playing on their home court at Cup Finals Weekend.
That put the pressure on University of Edinburgh Women’s 1st team who were taking on twice defending champions Su Ragazzi. Both teams’ recruited new personnel for the match but the University, buoyed by Team GB Olympic Captain Lynne Beattie, were not disheartened when Su took the first set. Instead they reversed the score line in the second, and won the third, meaning Su would need to force a tiebreak in order to make the final. And despite the Uni having a match point, Su snuck back to take the fourth 26-24. But it was one race to 15 too many for the Su women, which allowed the Edinburgh Uni team to make it two women’s team out of two in Finals Weekend action. At the same time, City of Edinburgh were taking on Edinburgh Jets in an Edinburgh derby to decide who would take the other finalist berth. The class and quality from a City of Edinburgh side with a mix of youth and experience was enough to take the match comfortably, and allow coach Traylor to test out some defensive and serving substitutions. The Edinburgh derby final is certainly not one to be missed.
That left just the men’s final to be decided, with Edinburgh Uni back in action, this time against City of Edinburgh. And despite some strong tactics and even stronger hitting from the Uni, City of Edinburgh used their class and impressive block to keep Edinburgh Uni down. That meant the champions from last year would be back in the final, against the winner of the West derby. One of the most fiery and powerful matches of the day saw South Ayrshire take on City of Glasgow Ragazzi in a game that had other players, spectators, and SVA staff hooked. Despite playing some fantastic volleyball, South Ayrshire were unable to stop the almost faultless defence from City of Glasgow’s Libero, Stuart MacKenzie, in the first two sets. But South Ayrshire managed to lift their game even further and take the third set, before racing ahead in the fourth. The fourth set saw tempers and hits
rise even higher, as City of Glasgow slowly reeled in the South Ayrshire team. The race to 25 was well and truly on, with South Ayrshire on the verge of forcing a fifth before City of Glasgow Ragazzi snuck back just in time to take the fourth set 26-24.
Based on Semi-Final Saturday, the Finals Weekend is not to be missed, with the schedule now confirmed and only the Junior Scottish Cup teams still to qualify, it certainly could be one of the best Cup Finals Weekends ever seen.