Men's National Cup Final Preview
13th April 2018
The current holders of the National Cup, IBB Polonia London, are back in the final again this year, confident they can retain the title after winning the competition in the previous two seasons.
They face Super 8s league toppers Team Northumbria – this Saturday at 15:30pm at the National Volleyball Centre – in what will be an enthralling clash between two powerhouses of the men’s game. Tickets are still available for the final on the door of the event.
Team Northumbria’s confidence will be high too, having beaten the London side twice already this season.
IBB London Polonia’s libero Marcel Sivak recognises Northumbria’s quality: “Northumbria is a strong opponent and they have been performing very convincingly.” However, Sivak thinks Polonia's previous successes could give them the vital edge in the final. “We are a more experienced team, including experience from playing in finals, which adds to our advantage.”
Although the north-eastern side may be in a rich vein of form, they will be wary of the reigning champions, as their coach David Goodchild explained: “We are expecting a tough match against IBB Polonia. They are the two-time reigning cup and league champions. Despite their poor start to the season they have strengthened their team and gone on a good unbeaten run.”
Both teams breezed past the competition in the early rounds, not losing a single set between them. Sussex United VC, New Forest, Wapping Wildcats and TeamBU Wessex were dispatched by IBB Polonia London, meanwhile Team Northumbria put Blyth Valley, Team Durham and Sheffield Hallam to the sword, getting a bye in the 2nd round against Sheffield 2.
The focus is now firmly set on Saturday’s final with both teams making their final preparations. Sivak explained that IBB Polonia London’s will focus on themselves in their approach to the match. “We want to enjoy our volleyball. We have to keep our mind focused all the time and just let it flow. Anything can happen in the final as both teams are super close to the desired outcome.”
Goodchild says his team will focus on their performance but will have a game plan for facing Polonia. “We will clearly respect our opponents and have a full scouting profile on all their players and strategies but we will focus mainly on ourselves and being the best we can be. If we stick to our philosophy and our style of play then our speed will cause them problems.”
Lifting the Cup
The biggest prize in English knockout volleyball is on offer and Marcel Sivak says he would love for Polonia to enjoy more success in the competition. “It would be amazing to be able to lift the trophy once again,” says Sivak. “Playing in the final and being able to defend the title would be a great reward to all involved in the process of club development.”
For Team Northumbria, winning the Cup has always been in their sights. “We all want to regain the trophy as it was an original programme goal at the start of the season,” says Goodchild. “The players work tirelessly every day with end goals of improving individually, winning games and winning titles.
“This is a truly dedicated group of athletes from all over the globe that have knitted together very well and play some spectacular volleyball. Enjoy the show!”
We will certainly be enjoying the show! It’s sure to be an exhilarating final – will you be there?