“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful”. This quote could have been written by Mets Volleyball Club who were my hosts for the day as I continued on my “Meet me at the Net” journeys.
Mets Volleyball Club are one of the biggest clubs in Scotland and not only do they have 2 men’s National League team’s, a women’s National League team, a men and women’s JNL team but also they are the only club in Scotland to have a sitting volleyball team. In the last 2 years the club have gone from strength to strength despite losing a number of key players to the GB Programme and for the 1st time in the club’s history the men’s first team won both the Scottish Cup and the National League breaking the previous dominance of Kilmarnock and Su Ragazzi.
My main host for the day was Vincent Lyle, Club Chairman and 1st team player. Vinny spoke to me about the clubs activities and also the ongoing issues relating to hall hire that the club has to ensure the continued growth and development of the club.
The Club work tirelessly at attracting new junior players. The majority of the men’s 2nd team are all under the age of 20. The club have developed players such as Andy Benson who is now playing professionally abroad and Shaun Henry who is based in Sheffield training full time with the Great Britain Development Squad. Mark Hudson, Andy Fleming and Andy Thomson have all put a tremendous amount of hard work and commitment into coaching these young players who may now feature in the GB team at the 2012 Olympics.
Andy Fleming who is the club’s Head Coach works with both the men’s and women’s U19 Junior National League team’s as well as playing for the men’s first team. Andy also runs a Junior Section on a Thursday night at the Ally McCoist Centre in East Kilbride to provide the club with a link to schools.
The club have also hosted the Great Britain Sitting Volleyball Team and have been working to establish Sitting Volleyball in Glasgow. The club are looking to continue to develop this area and if anyone is interested in taking it up (and maybe playing in the 2012 Paralympics!!) please contact either Vincent Lyle or myself.
The profile match was between Mets II and Kilmarnock II in the men’s 2nd division. The match started evenly with some good blocking from Daniel Rybka and with Kilmarnock making some unforced errors Mets took a 10-5 lead. Some strong serving from Kilmarnock brought the score back to 10-9. Some great defending from 16 year old Dominik Sirant kept the set close but Kilmarnock stepped up their game and took the 1st set 25.18.
A different story began to unfold in the 2nd set with Mets taking a commanding lead of 6-1 due to some excellent hitting by Mario Kosara and some great blocks from Scott Montgomery. Great tactical setting from Gordon Laughland (Haggis) which led to clever hitting from Craig Beacom finished the 2nd set 25-18 to Mets.
The 3rd set was nip and tuck at the start but some lovely setting from Kilmarnock’s setter Grant Young and clever hitting from an experienced Allan Thomas took Kilmarnock to a 19-12 lead. Mets fought back hard with Gordon Laughland chasing down every ball and brought the game back to 20-19 to Kilmarnock. From that point on Kilmarnock stepped up their game and won the 3rd set 25-20 and the 4th set was a convincing 25-16. The 5th set was a close encounter with Kilmarnock winning 16-14 with some good volleyball on show.
The MVP was awarded to Daniel Rybka for his all round performance.
I caught up with 16 year old Dominik Sirant after the game to ask him a few questions about his volleyball career to date.
Q. How did you become involved in Volleyball?
A. A girl at my school played for Mets and we were playing volleyball and she said that I was really good and I should come along and play. I started going along on a Tuesday night and loved it.
Q. What has been your best moment in Volleyball?
A. The UK School Games in Wales in September 2009. We were down 12-3 in the final set in the semi-finals against England and came back to win and reach the final.
Q. Who is your favourite player in the world?
A. Mariusz Wlazly.. he playes for Poland and is just amazing. He is the 2nd best player in the world
Q. Who is your favourite player from Scotland?
A. Andy Benson .. he played for Mets. I watched him playing for GB against Croatia and he was great.
Q. What is your ambition in volleyball?
A. To play for Scotland and go on to play professionally.
Mets Volleyball Club have established a strong presence in the South Side of Glasgow catering for players of all levels and have developed excellent links with schools to ensure a steady stream of new junior players into the club. The efforts of the initial members of the club including Peter Campbell and Brian McDougall have laid foundations for the club to not only continue but to develop and also reach new levels of performance.
My thanks to my host for the day Vinny Lyle and also to Mark Hudson, Andy Fleming and Andy Thomson for their input and feedback.