Scots at the Double

Scotland made it two wins out of two in Pool A of the CEV European Championships Small Countries Division with a comfortable 25-12, 25-14, 25-12 win over Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland scored the first point on a Scottish hitting error but Scotland assumed control to lead 8-3 at the first technical time-out, with Lynne Beattie scoring off the Irish block. Scotland took the set 25-12 on a block by teenage middle blocker Mhairi Agnew.

Northern ireland again led at the start of the second set but Scotland hit back with Beattie proving lethal for the home side. Catherine Smy also made an impact through the middle to take Scotland to 16-9 at the second technical time-out and the hosts took the set on their third set point 25-14.

Scotland took the initiative at the start of the final set to lead 3-0 and an Irish handling error took them to 8-3 at the technical time-out. Linsey Bunten kept up the pressure as Scotland stretched to 12-5 and some solid serving from Caitlin McEwan, with Scotland scoring six unanswered points, was the foundation to see out the set 25-12 and secure victory.
Head coach Craig Faill said: “It was a challenge on our ability to do the thingds we needed to do and we wavered a bit. Our passing was reactive rather than being positive. I took a time-out at the beginning of set two to re-focus and we picked it back up again. Everyone made a contribution and we’ll learn from this.

Northern Ireland coach Callum Grieve commented: “It’s a game that was always going to be difficult. Scotland are well drilled and give you nothing. they make you work hard in defence all of the time. We matched them in fits and starts – it’s an eye-opening experience and hopefully our girls learn from it.”
Captain Aimee Nixon added: “There is massive growth in this team. We’ll learn from this and take things on board. A lot of it is mental and knowing the Scotland team are so strong, I think we mentally went in the wrong way, but it’s all part of the learning proicess.