U.S.A. Athletes’ Crowd Thrilling Final at Scottish Open Volleyball 2006.
Bill Eddington’s U.S.A. Athletes International team certainly lived up to their potential in a thrilling weekend’s volleyball at Bell’s Sports Centre as the 2006 21st Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament attracted a total of 131 teams to the Fair City of Perth.
The weekend started with a fantastic festival atmosphere at the ‘Welcome Ceilidh’ as Australians, Americans, Faroese, Poles and Russians tried their hands and feet along with their British counterparts at traditional Scottish reels and they had the proverbial “ball,” without a spherical object anywhere in sight. There was even a Brazilian lady whose Samba rhythm helped her through the night with typical flair.
Saturday morning and the competition commenced with everyone of the competitors convinced they could do well enough to lift a trophy for their side after play concluded on Sunday afternoon. There was a fair spattering of local sides interspersed with a whole range of teams from around the U.K. and further afield.
A couple of showers at mid-day and mid-afternoon did little to dampen spirits especially as the “Cocoa at Bedtime” team amused one and all with their clown performances at the end court on the North Inch – what fun these guys are, year in, year out – they even assembled their clown car, complete with a whole box of tricks, in the campsite early on the Saturday morning.
Indoors City of Glasgow Ragazzi got off to a great start with a comprehensive two sets to love victory against XTC (Trinity College Dublin) which lasted all of a whirlwind 17 minutes. They followed this up with another two-zero win against Mets Vets and completed their day’s play with a much closer win against nearest rivals Rucanor Jets to finish top of their section and qualify for the semi-finals on Sunday morning. XTC bounced back from their sluggish start to record two straight wins against Mets and Jets to finish in second top slot and possibly qualify for Sunday’s semi-finals depending on results in the other two sections.
In section two Glasgow Mets battled their way to the top slot with a comfortable win against the R.A.F. side, but had tough games against City of Edinburgh where they just edged a result 18-25; 25-21; 7-15. Their final game of the day against Bon Accord saw a first set struggle end with the Glasgow lads finally recording victory 28-26; 25-20. City of Edinburgh finished in second position, winning their games against the R.A.F. side (25-21; 25-13) and Bon Accord (25-22; 25-18). In section three it was Dundee who came out on top beating Pentland NUVOC and the Australian Defence Force for their semi-final slot.
Once all the points had been totalled it saw the semi-final draw matching Dundee with Glasgow Mets and City of Edinburgh paired with City of Glasgow Ragazzi.
In the women’s competition, Scottish champions Troon opened against North Lanarkshire V.C. wining 25-11; 25-20. They continued their winning ways against Nottingham Ladies (25-13; 25-17) and the Australian Defence Force (25-16; 25-14) with the Australians finishing section runners up by beating North Lanarkshire 25-14; 18-25; 15-5 and Nottingham Ladies 25-20; 25-23. The other section saw USA Athletes pip Lenzie 25-23; 25-14, moving on to a more comfortable 25-13; 25-10 win against Rucanor Jets, finishing off with a thrilling 20-25; 25-16; 15-4 victory against the English University side coached by Lenny Barrie. The English lasses had already won their other two games and therefore qualified for Sunday’s semi-finals as section runners up.
Saturday evening saw the Sports Centre transformed from volleyball courts to disco venue as the tempo and volume upped the ante with volleyballers dancing the night away after a great day’s play.
Men’s semi Finals.
Sunday morning saw the men’s semi-finals with Dundee taking the court against Glasgow Mets. It was Dundee who reached the final with a close fought 25-23; 25-21 win. The second semi was an inter-city battle of the giants with City of Edinburgh and City of Glasgow Ragazzi going head to head. Ragazzi qualified to meet Dundee in the afternoon final with another close win 25-23, 20-25; 15-13. In the men’s consolation competition Jets defeated Nuvoc in the semi final and XTC in the final (25-15; 22-25; 15-8).
In the women’s competition Troon played English Universities and it was the Scots’ side who came out on top 25-21; 21-25; 15-10. In the other semi it was U.S.A. against Australia with the Americans coasting into the final with a 25-7; 25-15 win. In the women’s consolation, it was Jets who beat North Lanarkshire in the semi and Lenzie in the final (25-14; 25-19).
America Versus Troon.
The women’s final commenced in front of an expectant crowd assembled around Bell’s centre court and they were not to be disappointed as an enthralling engagement commenced.
The play was fast and furious with neither side willing to concede although Troon were the side having the edge by either one or two points. The first set was poised at 24 points each and it was English star Mel Coutts who won the set for Troon 26-24. The second set was equally close and again it went to the wire with the Americans having the early lead but Troon catching up and in fact holding match point at 25-24. A tremendous rally by the American girls saw them level the game at one set each after scoring three consecutive points without reply to win 27-25.
The final third set amazingly bettered the previous two for drama with Troon again having match point at 14-11 ahead. Troon coach Vince Krawczyk then substituted Mel Coutts and the Americans took advantage to bring the score to 13-14. Mel came back on court but it was to no avail as American coach Leslie Howe urged her girls to an astounding last gasp victory by 16 points to 14 becoming Scottish Open Champions for the first time in front of an appreciative cheering audience. This was Troon’s second consecutive year of finishing as losing finalists.
Could the men’s final match this excitement – well the crowd waited with baited breath as Dundee faced up to last year’s winners Ragazzi. With Dundee having three Perth residents in their line-up it was clear where the local interest lay. Kevin Chisolm, Douglas Crockart and Ian Cook did all they could but it was Ragazzi who took the first set 25-22. The second set saw Dundee level things with a 25-19 score to set things up for another exciting third and final set. It was Ragazzi’s experience which told as they retained their Open Championship title with a 15-11 win.
This year’s Scottish Open was certainly memorable for all the right reasons with some spectacular volleyball on display – well done to everyone for putting on such a wonderful display.
Thanks are also due to local sponsors for their support of the tournament – Strathmore Water, Famous Grouse Whisky, The Trophy Shop, St Johnstone FC. And Sportset Volleyball Specialists.
Trophy Winners’ List 2006
|Women’s Division of Honour
|USA Athletes Int.
|Men’s Division of Honour
|City of Glasgow Ragazzi
|Women’s Division One
|Pskov Academy For Tourism
|Pints and Shots
|Men’s Division One
|Women’s Division Two
|Men’s Division Two
|Phoenix St Albans
|Men’s Division Three
|Wee Let the Dhergs Out
|Mixed Division Two
|Fat Kids Win at See Saw
|Mixed Division Three
|The Sore Bits
|Best Dressed Team
|Cocoa at Bedtime
|Most Valuable Player (women)
|Chelsey Kenny (USA Athletes International, Kansas)
|Most Valuable Player (men)
|Mark McGivern (City of Edinburgh)