National Cup and Shield finalists confirmed
24th February 2020
The Cup and Shield semi-finals results are in, meaning we now know who has made it to the final stages of both competitions.
IBB Polonia London beat Malory Eagles in straight sets (25-14; 25-17; 25;23) to secure their place in the final.
Vangelis Koutouleas, Head Coach of IBB Polonia London, said: “I am happy with the result, but also I am happy with the team performance for 2 and a half sets. In the last half set I made some substitutions when the score was 16-8, resulting in the team losing concentration and making the last set close. Generally, after the European tournaments, my idea and also the club's idea is to put on the court more young and British players, so they can build on their experience for the future.
“So, I am happy for the result, for the most part of the game, and happy how the team reacted when needed. And I am even more happy for the team attitude and atmosphere, on the court and amongst the faithful supporters.”
In the other semi-final, Durham Palatinates were victorious in their match with Richmond Docklands (25-23; 25-22; 20-25; 25-18).
Durham Palatinates will, therefore, face IBB Polonia London in the Men’s National Cup final on in April.
Durham Palatinates are also through to the Women’s Cup final after beating Polonia SideOut London in straight sets (27-25; 25-16; 25-23).
David Goodchild, Head Coach of Durham Palatinates Women’s Team said: “As a squad, we spent a full 2 weeks preparing for this semi-final as we knew Polonia Ladies are a very good team.
“We had a very specific plan from the serve line which proved very beneficial for certain rotations. The team served really well, which allowed our blockers and defenders to deliver their roles.
“As a squad, we have extremely good attackers, and this was the difference with all of our players scoring and being smart when required.
“This was our best performance of the season. Our passing was good which allowed Abby Becker to distribute and execute the game plan, which she did magnificently.”
The Palatinates will be looking to match their achievements from 2019 when they won both the Men and Women’s National Cup competitions.
They will be joined in the final by Northumbria University, who fought to victory in a nail-biting 5-set contest against TeamBU Wessex (15-25; 25-15; 20-25; 27;25; 19-17).
Sam Shenton, Head Coach of Northumbria University, said: “The 5-set thriller started off in a strange first 2 sets with BU taking the 1st set to 15 due to offensive power and then Northumbria University taking the 2nd set 25-15 due to serving pressure.
“The game was a great game with both sides showing tactical-based offences and pure athleticism through defence and blocks.
“Both sides showed great heart and determination with Northumbria tipping the scale in their favour due to zone 6 defence and exploitation in the middle of the net.”
University of Nottingham are in the Men’s Shield final after beating East Midlands rivals Darkstar Derbyshire (25-15; 25-14; 25-20). They will face Onyx London, who took 4 sets to topple London Aces (25-21; 25-20; 17-25; 25-19).
In the Women’s Shield semi-finals, IMKA Polonia London were beaten by London Lionhearts (14-25; 14-25; 21-25) while York Falcons lost to Darkstar Derbyshire (12-25; 12-25; 25-18; 14-25). London Lionhearts will face Darkstar Derbyshire in the final.
The climax to both the Cup and Shield competitions will unfold on Cup Finals weekend, which takes place on 25th and 26th April, timings to be confirmed.
Picture credit: Steve Smith.