Maynooth University was the venue for the first ever Student Sport Ireland / Volleyball Ireland 3rd Level Cup Finals day. With the league competition running solely in semester one, four new cup competitions were introduced after Christmas with teams pitted against sides of similar standard in a Tier 1 and Tier 2 Cup in Men’s and Women’s.
The action got underway at 12pm as Athlone IT and Dundalk IT met in the Women’s Tier 2 Cup final. All games in the cup were played over best of five sets as opposed to the best of three sets in the league. Athlone IT got off to the better start and took the first set 25-15. Dundalk IT who were missing two of their key players on the day were unable to get a firm foothold in the game and lost the second set 25-11. Athlone IT dominated the court for the final set also and polished off their victory with another 25-11 set victory in the final set.
Athlone IT – Laura Rodriguez, Giulia Laborio, Gabriela Garcia, Virginia Solinas, Maybeline Ho, Alexandra Fleming, Alessia Lentini, Margot Fautrat.
Dundalk IT – Elvira Prado, Yih Wen Ting, Anne-Marie Sebastian, Michelle Sherry, Wei Han Chia, Aisha Ashi-Sulaimon, Jocelyn Castro B, Shusang Goh, Esther Mampuyoa.
Next on court was the Men’s Tier 2 Cup Final between University College Dublin and NUI Galway. Despite this being the Tier 2 Cup final the standard of play in this was very high with both teams having players of National League standard with some very strong international players from outside of Ireland adding to the talent pool on display.
The opening set the tempo for the match as both teams displayed all the key elements and it was NUI Galway who just got over the line in the opening set on a 25-21 score line with some important shots at the net with the set in the melting pot. NUI Galway kept the foot on the pedal in the second set and took it 25-19. The third set would ultimately be the final set but UCD gave everything and made NUI Galway work all the way to the end, before the Galwegians closed out the match 25-21.
NUI Galway – Luke Uniacke, Liam Faron, JC Ardo, Jeremiah Obiekwe, Rylis Liavkeviaus, Sky Yee, Frank Areife, Soren Shruder, Karl Shield, Colm Lonergan, Tom Falkon, Mohamed Alnuza.
University College Dublin – James Leahy, Mateusz Checinski, John Vincent Pandoc, Taj Peyre, Zhixing Zhong, Xinyi Wan, Hasan Alqaddaf, Cian Corcoran, Mateusz Olszewski.
The final game of the day was the Men’s Tier 1 Cup final that saw Athlone IT and Trinity College Dublin do battle. Athlone IT had upset league champions Royal College of Surgeons in the quarter finals and were primed to take on a strong Trinity College side.
The opening set saw both teams bring their ‘A’ game to the table with Trinity College surviving an onslaught from Athlone IT to win 25-22, Trinity took the second set in similar fashion on a 25-20 score line and at that stage it looked like a three nil win was on the cards. However, Athlone IT started the third set on the front foot and raced into a strong lead, Trinity College did close towards the end of the set but Athlone IT got a set on the board with a 25-23 victory. Trinity College immediately wrestled back control of the game in the fourth set and closed out the match 25-17 to take the Tier 1 Cup in its maiden year.
The Women’s Tier 1 Cup final between NUI Galway and the Royal College of Surgeons had to be postponed due to the coronavirus and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Trinity College Dublin – Mark Escoto, Luca Rodi, Antoine Carnec, Anton Tiscoveschi, Brady Orozco-Hermani, Nikola Cerujic, Yin, Alfredo.
Athlone IT – Nicolo Horini, Anthony Finnerty, Viitorio Degiorgis, Filippo Gambarana, Saimon Yehdego, Arnaud Jonckheere, Stefano Maffezzoli, Daniel Callanan.
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