The Scottish Universities volleyball season is currently reaching its climax, with a number of key events on the horizon in the coming weeks. The league action in Tier 1 for both men and women has been concluded, with Edinburgh and Dundee Universities being crowned league champions in the men’s and women’s leagues respectively. In Tier 2 the men’s title looks to be going Strathclyde’s way, with their 3-2 win over challengers St Andrews being their only sets dropped this season. In the women’s Tier 2, Glasgow are narrow favourites to sneak promotion over Edinburgh II, who have had an excellent season and currently sit atop the league.
The top two teams in the men’s and women’s Tier 1 now progress to the last 16 knock out stages of the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championship to meet the top English Universities teams. Scottish universities have an impressive record in the women’s competition, with Dundee reaching the Final two years ago and Edinburgh and Napier also reaching the semi-finals in the past three years. In this year’s men’s event, the draw has seen a strong Dundee men’s team paired in an away draw with overwhelming tournament favourites Leeds Met, who currently sit second in the English Superleague and being coached by Scottish National Team coach Simon Loftus on a full time basis. A tough draw indeed!
In addition to league activity, the main event of the domestic universities season, the Scottish Universities Men’s and Women’s Cups, take place at Stirling and Robert Gordon’s Universities respectively on 20th February. Up to 12 teams will compete for the each trophy with Tier 2 teams able to challenge for some silverware and recent Cup competitions have shown that Tier 2 teams are capable of upsets.
Scottish Universities volleyball competition creates a unique atmosphere and energy and the students’ enthusiasm for the sport is a refreshing tonic. University players number approximately 500 and encompass many different nationalities and backgrounds. The experience that continental and overseas players bring to the student and domestic game is considerable and university competition is an ideal environment in which this can influence and benefit Scottish players.
The next month or so will see the domestic silverware find a new home for the coming year and will also give Scottish teams the opportunity to challenge on the British stage.
Student volleyball activity in Scotland is alive and kicking!
President SVA Student Commission