NEVZA U19 Championships: Day One
27th October 2017
There was a feast of volleyball as the NEVZA Under 19 Championships got underway at the National Volleyball Centre.
Kettering welcomed five of England’s fellow NEVZA nations, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden, for the prestigious junior tournament.
England fared well on day one which saw the completion of all the pool matches. The England men face a quarter final against Faroe Islands at 9 am tomorrow after finishing second in their group. A comfortable 3-0 victory over Iceland (25‐14, 25‐15, 25‐23) meant they played Denmark for top spot. The Danes are the reigning champions and showed why they are favourites for the tournament again with a brilliant display to deny England.
Both sides showed ferocious hitting and England men ran the Danes mightily close in the first two sets, losing them both to 23 points. Denmark were relentless in their play, recovering balls and hitting accurate and powerful spikes. England ran out of steam in the third, losing it to 12 points.
The men will take a lot of encouragement from the fact they matched Denmark for long parts of the match and are in with a chance of a medal in the next two days if they can reproduce their best form.
England women were in a tough group against Sweden and Denmark and after two hard-fought defeats will face Faroe Islands in the quarter finals at 11am on Saturday.
They opened the tournament against the Danes, who were last year’s champions. After losing the first set to 20 points, the women won the second with some excellent hitting. Head coach Paul Welsh has asked his side to be aggressive with their hitting in the run up to the tournament and his players were carrying out his plan. They lost the next two sets to lose the match but will take confidence from the performance as it proved their new aggressive philosophy will work.
In their second pool game, England women lost 3-0 to Sweden but forced their way into the business end of all the sets. If they can keep their nerve on a few more of the pressure points they are sure to turn their performance into more set wins.
In the men’s tournament, Denmark and Sweden head straight through to the semi-finals as Pool winners. While England face Faroes Islands, and Norway will do battle with Iceland in the other quarter final.
In the women’s draw, Denmark and Norway progress directly to the semi-finals. England will play the Faroes Islands in one quarter final, while Sweden and Iceland meet in the other.