Super Finals Weekend

Wishaw Sports Centre - Saturday 27th April 2013

The National Plate Final.
Su Ragazzi II  V  Edinburgh Jets II

FBS – 10.00
The setting for the finals weekend at Wishaw Sports Centre looked terrific with the national flags hanging from the walls, the courtside advertising boards, and the coloured international match court, and the boys of Su Ragazzi II won!

Set I we prevailed because we had better preparation strategies and started the match at full speed.  Set 2 we won because we dug deep and competed when the play was tight.  Set 3 we won because we played better volleyball than Jets and we won!  Su Ragazzi II – winners of the National Plate….fantastic.

The build up for the match had started immediately after the semi-final.  Going into the game today our players knew what to expect, and what to do, they were relaxed and focused, and at the start of the match it showed.  We served tough, we hit smart, we defended everything Jets threw at us, and won the set 25 – 14.  Marc McLaughlin ran an excellent offence, and we did not register a single mistake in the set – that was impressive.

Set 2 we knew Jets II would come back at us.  They have had a good season and had a point to prove.  They reduced the errors they had been making, they passed better, they found some penetration with their first tempo attack, and the tone of the game changed.  We went into the second technical time out winning, but then found ourselves 16 – 19 down.  Jets had changed their service tactic to try and reduce Conor Walker’s influence on the game.  He had been particularly effective in the first set, as had Chris de Lattre, in set 2 they both had to work harder.

At 18 – 20 down our young team could have panicked, but they didn’t.  At 21 – 22 down we knew there was a chance to claw back the score.  At 22 – 22 Captain Gordie McGilivray had yet another successful thumping hit out of the back court.  At 23 – 24 down the Jets’ resolve cracked under the intense pressure and they served out.  Second set to us.

Set 3 our Middle Blockers came into their own.  Fraser Johnson and Chris de Lattre were everywhere, and both scored crucial blocks.  Jets tried to turn the tide of the match by increasing their service weight, but Jordan Scott and Stuart Mackenzie passed everything the Jets sent over the net.

Set 3 we had a match winning lead, then we wavered and let the Jets back in. The two teams traded points, and some steely resolve was required, and delivered.  Fraser Johnson stepped up to the plate in the service box, Jets couldn’t side out, we dug their attack, Marc set the ball, Conor creamed it onto the floor, game over, Su Ragazzi win!

The players rushed onto the court and did a ‘bouncy-bouncy-victory-dance’.  They deserved their moment.  For our young team this was a triumph, and the future looks bright!  It is a terrific end to what has been a very successful season for a group of young players who can only get better.

Well done Su Ragazzi II








The National Thistle Bowl Final.
The Fabulous Suettes  V  North Grampian ladies

FBS – 14.35
The setting for the finals weekend at Wishaw Sports Centre still looked terrific as the women’s Thistle Bowl Final kicked off.  The Suettes wanted two things from the match, they wanted the win, and they wanted a flowing, confident performance – they got both.

Set one we were nervous, not sure why, and our performance was a bit of a see-saw, full of excellence and hesitation.  The times we were ‘on’ we achieved the standards we had worked hard for.  And then there were bouts of play when we were ‘off’ and we made a series of unforced errors.  Junior setter Priya Gill was helped by some solid hitting from power hitter Kirsty Mclean, and middle blocker Laura McKernan, and we took the set 25 – 16.

The ladies from the North fought hard, made some terrific pick-ups in defence, and managed to stretch our passing unit on several occasions, as the Suettes marched relentlessly through set 2. 

The introduction of setter Emma Clarkson brought a different tone to the offence, Alex Dickenson began to find her range in attack, and Carly McKinlay served a series of super tough serves, to put our team into a commanding position.  Libero Jillian Galloway calmly went about her business and cadet setter Lucy Schouler made the most of the opportunity that being on the court presented, and we won set two 25 – 16.

Standing in the huddle between sets 2 and 3 we wanted more!  We wanted more fluidity in our play, we wanted more speed and penetration in the attack, and in set three we got it.  Marketa thundered her power hits and scored, Sabrina hit smart and scored, Kirsty and Alex were both powerhouses, and Carly finished the match by serving an ace!  

Job Done.  Champions!  For the Club the day held two finals played - two finals won……that’s success!

Well done Su Ragazzi.









Super Cup Sunday……

Under 18 Girls Super Cup Final: NL Ragazzi 2-1 Marr College

The stage was set for a fantastic event as Wishaw Sports Centre looked resplendent in its volleyball excellence. The SVA’s Special Events Committee had completed an excellent job in making the venue look fabulous. The NL Ragazzi girls were in their new uniforms and cup final t-shirts, many parents were present to support their kids, and everything was as it should be.

Marr College has held the Indian sign over Ragazzi this year with three 2-1 victories but each game was tighter than the one before…..the gap was closing!  In the final Ragazzi had a good warm up with the spiking part suggesting that we might be just a little bit sharper than Marr.

The match started exactly as we wanted it to, with consistency, focus and our troops matching Marr’s renowned ‘never-say-die’ spirit.  Elise Rogers, Mhairi Agnew and Michelle Allen dominated the net in the early exchanges, but both teams were doing a good job from the service line and challenging their opponents.

The first set was on a knife-edge with the advantage see-sawing back and forward until the excellent Katie Barbour stepped up the service pressure for Marr College. We backed off for a brief spell under the weight of the Marr pressure.   Lucy Schouler came into the game at this point for Captain Priya Gill and this allowed Ragazzi to refocus.  Lucy made an impact and helped the team to regain some composure. Nikita Greenidge’s introduction also helped, and although Marr took the first set, we had made them work hard for it.

Marr’s 25-18 first set victory was good value for them, especially the excellence of Katie Barbour’s play, but we also had people who were contributing to the quality of the game.  Michelle Allan was working incredibly hard in defense and came up with a solid net game. Priya and Lucy had set the ball with authority.  Both of our middle net players, Mhairi and Megan Quinn had scored crucial blocks, and important hits, Mhairi with power and Megan with guile. Libero Raveen Gill was calm, was composed,  and maintained a steady stream of quality passes to her big sister who then ran a solid offense.

As set two unfolded passer-hitter Emma Wotherspoon was having a hard time.  Marr targeted her consistently with some serious heavy duty services.   Under this relentless pressure Emma wavered…..wobbled…..hesitated, then decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck and get some payback for the tough times they were giving her.

Emma stepped up her work in the passing unit and demanded the ball.  She could have hidden in there, passed on the responsibility to control the Marr service to others, but she didn’t.  She stepped up and demanded the rest of her team-mates follow her lead.  Then she went back to the base line and served….howitzers! 

When Emma came to the service line we were 19-21 down.  When she finished we had won the second set 25-21.   She served bombs, she served howitzers, she served three aces, and left the Marr College team in tatters.

The third set started evenly enough but then Mhairi came up with two killer blocks and a string of strong serves to deflate Marr.  They got no change from Elise, Raveen or Michelle who did the right thing in the right place at the right time in a well-structured transition unit. Emma, Priya and Megan served well and the foundations were laid for a famous victory.

Elise contributed two stunning hits, Mhairi scored yet another big block, and the game went to match point for us.  With all of the tension and rhe excitement we missed it, and then reorganised to wait for the Marr serve, but the pressure was telling on them also and they served an error….Game Done!

Su Ragazzi VC appeared in three of the finals on the SVA's flagship Finals Weekend, and won all three….that’s something to remember.

Mhairi Agnew was awarded the ‘Hannah Scott Award’ for the game’s MVP, which was a special way to end what had been a great day. 

So well done to the JNL Champions, well done to the parents for their support, well done Su Ragazzi Volleyball Club for the success of the Finals Weekend.

photographs by Fraser Strachan.