SWNTP: Easter in Italy

The Senior Women”s Volleyball team have just returned on the 15th April from an amazing trip to Porto san Giorgio on the Italian  Adriatic coast.

The team played in a challenging four nations tournament against Iceland,  San Marino and Liechtenstein.

The setting of the small but lively holiday resort of Porto San Giorgio was as picturesque as possible and deserves a visit if you are planning a trip to Italy and our hosts led by Fulvio Taffoni were professional, caring and with an eye for detail. Our accommodation and meals all laid on by our hosts in the Hotel Gabbiano were as good as we could possibly expect and our visit to the Mayor’s reception for all the teams was a very pleasant occasion. The trip to the European Volleyball Champions league men’s quarter final between Civitinova and Modena on the evening of day two was a fantastic added bonus and a mention of the Scotland team by the announcer during the match put our volleyball nation on the international map.

No doubt about it this was a demanding trip as the team prepares itself for the Euro SC finals in Luxembourg.

First up on the 12th, following a 12 hour journey which finished at 3am that day were a well rested, powerful and free flowing Icelandic side. A slow start by the Scots saw the Icelanders take the first set 25-22 but the Scots played themselves in to the game losing the second set narrowly 25-23 and winning a titanic third set 31-29 before taking their opponents apart in the fourth to lead 19-9. However, the wheels came off at that stage as the Scots had a run of errors under substantial pressure and lost the set to 22 and with it the match. The setting of Morgan and the right sided hitting of Thom had been essential to the teams fine play.

The next day saw the Scots play San Marino, a smart unit with just a bit less power than our first day opponents but despite a brilliant spell in the middle of the match, the team went down by 23, 22 and 18. However, we were beginning to build an understanding of what players had to offer as Murray ( formerly McKinlay) showed up well in the off setter position and McReady continued her good work for us as a passer hitter.

The last international game of the trip against Liechtenstein was on day three and after another  slow start the Scots took firm control through the middle from Smy, Murray and Agnew and on the outside through Ramage, Thom, McReady, McLean and Fraser. Barbour was having her best game too and in a 3 set to 1 win the highlight was a 25-10 third set devastation of our competent opponents. A set in which 12 Scots players were on court at one time or other.

All that was left was a very friendly closing ceremony in which Smy and Morgan were recognised as 2 of the top 6 players of the tournament followed by a closely contested bounce match played in great spirit against our Italian hosts. McLean led the team for this game with Waldie the starting setter and Morrison and Rutherford who had earlier earned their first caps gained further invaluable court time.

As a result of this trip, the players will be much better prepared for the Euro finals in June.

The players should be commended for the way that they went about their business in Italy both on and off court as should assistant coach Aileen Hall and our flawless team manager Gail Wilson. However, the greatest commendation must go to the town of Porto San Giorgio  and our host Fulvio Taffoni and his organising committee who made this a truly memorable occasion which we hope we will be able to repeat.

Vincent Krawczyk