The Gold Medal Tour

Scotland – Gold Medal Winners“ And the winners of the 2014 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship Small Countries Division – Men are…..Scotland!”

The words were supported by a cheering crowd in the stands of the d’Coque Centre, by some immensely proud Scottish parents who had made the journey to Luxembourg to support the boys, and by a group of talented and dedicated young players who had just made volleyball history.  The first Scottish team to win a gold medal at a CEV event. Terrific!

The journey to the Gold Medal started in the Autumn of 2012.  At that stage there were 34 players involved in the Young Senior Programme and they all worked hard.  The start of the new season in September 2013 saw some additional players coming in to join the YS Training Time in Luxprogramme and others leaving for various reasons.  The very tough Christmas Camp at Ravenscraig Centre saw the squad cut to 18 for the Power League series of games.  In Luxembourg, at the finals, the value of the Power League was very evident.  In Luxembourg we were a team, a coherent team that demonstrated resilience in the face of the competition, that was confident in its ability, that knew how to express excellence, all attributes that were earned in the PL sessions.  Great thanks are due to South Ayrshire men, to Dundee Volleyball Club, to Jets VC and the Senior Men’s squad for their help and support, and finally the travelling squad of 12 players was selected.

In Luxembourg our first match was against a strong Northern Ireland team.  We won 3-2.  The score said the result of this match was close, but we didn’t think so.  We started a tad hesitantly and never quite established our ‘A’ game, but had enough to answer the questions the Northern Irish boys posed.

SCO vs LUXMatch 2 for us was against Luxembourg.  They thought they were the favourites.  Match 2 was the best match of the finals.  Match 2 was of a very high level and we scored 5 kill blocks in the first set and never looked back.  We served tough with tactics, we blocked extremely well, we defended the floor like demons, and simply did not let up.  We won 3 – 1 and the Gold medal beckoned.

Our final opponents were the Welsh team that was making their debut at the finals.  They were erratic at times, excellent at others, always enthusiastic and difficult to predict.  We had to establish the level of the match and play the opposition not the occasion…..we did both.  We won 3 – 0.  We earned the Gold medal and leapt about in celebration.

Scotland – Gold Medal Winners!
Marc McLaughlin In Action
The young Scottish players deserve all of the praise that is coming their way for this historic achievement.   Marc McLaughlin deserved the personal award for being the best server.  Stuart Mackenzie deserved the personal award for being the best libero.  Captain Ross McKelvie deserved the personal award for the being the event’s MVP, and there could have been more, because we got outstanding performances from every one of the players wearing the Scotland uniform.

The story of Scottish Volleyball is changed as a result of this success and the efforts of the players, the coaching staff, the parents, the SVA staff, the Scottish Clubs and everyone else who has contributed to this terrific story.

There are too many people to mention to be able to thank them all, but thanks are due to Bill Stobie for managing the whole event, to Jillian Galloway for being an excellent physio, to Brian McDougal for once again demonstratThe U20's Scotland Teaming the excellence of Scottish match officials, to Simon Coleman and Liam Fleming for their invaluable contributions, to John Scrimgeour for everything, to the parents who travelled to Luxembourg and draped the Scottish Flags all over the place, and finally to the players for their  dedication, their commitment and good humour, and their excellent performances.

Scotland – Gold Medal Winners………..sounds good doesn’t it?!

Thomas Dowens
Head Coach
Monday 14th April 2014