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Home / News / SVA National Cup Finals Weekend 2019 – A weekend of history-making

SVA National Cup Finals Weekend 2019 – A weekend of history-making

With 12 matches, 14 SVA staff and volunteers, 6 SVA Leadership Academy Leaders, 10 referees, and over 20 courtside assistants, Cup Finals Weekend 2019 was one of the biggest ever Finals Weekends. But it was not only the numbers that would secure the 2019 Cup Finals Weekend a place in the history books, but also the first-time records being set. And it didn’t take long to set these records.

The first match up on the wonderful show court at the Pleasance was the Boys S5/S6 School Cup Final, the first ever school cup match to be held as a part of a Finals Weekend. Following a change in structure to become more like other junior competitions, this year’s final pitted two highly successful school teams against each other for one last battle. Both James Gillespie’s High School and Queensferry High School have had successful recent history in this competition and used all their experience to cruise through qualifying. Despite strong support from one of the loudest crowds of the weekend, James Gillespie’s were never able to settle and allowed Queensferry to play their way to the trophy.

James Gillespie’s High School 0-2 Queensferry (19-25, 12-25). MVP – Harris Ritchie.

This was quickly followed by the Girls’ Final, another derby between two rivals; Queensferry High School and Belmont Academy. With the newly-crowed boys in the crowd, Queensferry had the majority of support from the crowd but this could do little to stop the team from the West jumping into a 1-0 lead after set one. But Heather Brownlee’s team talk between sets must have been effective as it took only four servers for Queensferry to level the match. Fynn Donaldson scored 8 on her service before the captain, Megan Hall scored 12 from hers. This service pressure was carried over into the final set where after Belmont scored once after opting for service, Queensferry sided out and allowed Fynn Donaldson to serve them all the way to 15. Two for two in the school cup would be only the beginning of the success for the Edinburgh teams.

Queensferry High School 2-1 Belmont Academy (16-25, 25-9, 15-1). MVP – Fynn Donaldson.

To round off Friday, there were no trophies on the line but instead, pride. Both Scottish Student Sport teams took on their National Team counterparts in front of a mostly student crowd, screaming for some student success. The SSS women’s team came out strongly and appeared to compete well with a National Team boasting a mix of youth and experience. However, the strength of the National Team boasting one of the strongest coaching teams possible in Scotland, won out. Where the women ended, the men picked up the baton, pushing a relatively youthful Scottish National Team side almost all the way to a deciding set. But the power and stability of the National Team pulled through in sets 3 and 4 to grind out a hard-fought victory.

SSS 0-3 SCO (Women) (20-25, 17-25, 17-25)
SSS 1-3 SCO (Men) (22-25, 25-13, 23-25, 23-25)

Saturday morning was all about the veterans of the volleyball world in Scotland. First up and back to defend their title were the Vets from Glasgow Mets. After being taken to five last year by a youthful City of Edinburgh II side, the opponents were again an SVL 1 side in the shape of Lenzie. A rather different game this year, saw mistakes punished harshly, as both teams tried to play their way to success rather than merely power through. In sets 1 and 2, Mets Vets were behind and forced to play themselves back into contention, with player/coach Andy Fleming leading from the back with some top serving. This set up one of the best sets of the weekend, as neither team were allowed ahead, and saw both teams level on 24, 25, and 26, before Mets Vets final snatched the winning set.

Glasgow Mets Vets 3-0 Lenzie (25-21, 25-22, 29-27) MVP – Andy Fleming

Straight after in the women’s plate, the reigning champions were again back to try and defend their title but under a new name; Troon Caledonia West Vets. But it would be the young guns from Edinburgh University II who would be the first out the gate led by some fantastic defending from libero Nadia Sotgiu. Nonetheless, Troon Caledonia West Vets setter Elaine Krawczyk was going to do everything to try and take the plate back for a third consecutive year. And the team wearing the silver stars did just that and won sets 3, 4 and 5.

Troon Caledonia West Vets 3-2 University of Edinburgh II (18-25, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-11) MVP – Elaine Krawczyk

Now at the halfway stage of the weekend, it was the six national cups to be fought for; of which City of Edinburgh had representation in all. A confident and composed City of Edinburgh Men’s team came back together after heartbreak in Coatbridge the week before to ensure the Cup would be returning to the Queensferry trophy cabinet. City of Glasgow Ragazzi were close, with opposite Daniel Okungbowa in particular finding almost impossible angles on every hit. But nothing could be done to stop City of Edinburgh setter Fraser Brown leading his team to a second Scottish Cup title in a row, after being unavailable the previous year.

City of Glasgow Ragazzi 1-3 City of Edinburgh (23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25) MVP – Fraser Brown

With the crowd’s appetite well and truly wetted, it was time for the women to show what they could do. Following their hard-fought 3-2 win against Su Ragazzi 6 days prior to win the league, City of Edinburgh were ready to replicate what they had just seen the men do. A strong opening set from the Queensferry side set a precedence for the rest of the match which saw the University taking the second back before City cruised the third. This left City of Edinburgh one set away from winning four out of four national cups; and win that set they did.

City of Edinburgh 3-1 University of Edinburgh (25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-20) Frances Doonan Award winner – Aitana Verdu Schlie

On Sunday, changing room one was a City of Edinburgh only affair, with their A team having made every final. With the Under 16 Girls leading off on the final day, Coach Zoe Smith was frustrated with her team as they failed to completely reproduce the form that saw them win the U16 League. Strong serving from both sides was punishing mistakes in side-out, and Caledonia West certainly brought power on the outside and smart play in the middle. But Zoe Smith didn’t have to worry, with serving stars Megan Hall and Fynn Donaldson back on court and enough class to take sets 1 and 2.

Caledonia West 0-2 City of Edinburgh (20-25, 24-26) East Lothian Falcons Star Award -  Lia Matteoni

Having gone five from five, this was the match that club founder Ian Brownlee was most nervous about, with his young U16 boys’ team facing a relatively experienced Volleyball Aberdeen who boasted a National Team player in their ranks. A tight first set saw both teams get to 25, but Volleyball Aberdeen unable to convert from the service line and allowing Edinburgh to sneak into the lead. The crowd were deafening and with Brownlee almost unable to contain his excitement, Volleyball Aberdeen quickly build an eight-point lead before City of Edinburgh served straight back into the match and soon into the lead, and before Volleyball Aberdeen could react, the match was done.

City of Edinburgh 2-0 Volleyball Aberdeen Blaze (27-25, 25-22) East Lothian Falcons Star Award -  Massimo La Rosa

To finish off the boy’s competition was a match not to be missed; the match pitting the league winners in Volleyball Aberdeen Blaze against the team that have dominated boy’s junior volleyball for over half a decade in City of Edinburgh. A tight first set saw neither team really ever build and hold a lead. A ball hitting the score table and taking out the electronic scoresheet was the only real break in tension until City of Edinburgh eventually forced two block outs from VA Blaze. This appeared to settle City of Edinburgh who channelled all their experience into winning the second set.

City of Edinburgh 2-0 Volleyball Aberdeen Blaze (25-23, 25-17) Hannah Scot Award – Fraser Glass

City of Edinburgh were now seven for seven in national cup wins, with only the girls U18 cup final to go. The first set made it look like a record setting eight out of eight wins would be routine for the Queensferry club allowing Caledonia West a mere half points, but coaches Jess Reid and Vince Krawcyzk made changes for the second set that saw Caledonia West narrowly take the second set. That led to a decider, and the east girls clearly remembered their win on Friday and channelled that through to win a deciding third set and mean that all national cups would be going back to Queensferry in 2019.

City of Edinburgh 2-1 Caledonia West (25-13, 23-25, 15-4) Hannah Scot Award – Ellen Ranklin

It cannot be overstated how impressive it is for City of Edinburgh to win all eight national cups; an SVA and Scottish Sport record. Founder of City of Edinburgh Volleyball Club, Ian Brownlee, commented “It has not quite sunk in yet! It is hard to put into words what it was like to watch 8 great performances, all one after the other, and the results just kept coming. Success on this scale is a great testament to the athletes but also the community of support that they have from our team of coaches, parents and volunteers that are giving the athletes what they need to be successful.”


Adam Paton MSYP
SVA Youth Panel Chair
2019 Cup Finals Assistant Competition Director