Cyprus got off to a shaky start in the first set, but quickly recovered for a 3-1 (24-26, 25-17, 25-18, 25-15) win over Luxembourg in the final, to claim the title at the 2016 Men’s U20 Volleyball European Championship Small Countries Division.
It was Cyprus’ third title in five editions of the competition. Luxembourg, who were seeking to climb to the top of the podium for the first time since 2008, had to be content with their fourth silver in the 10-year history of the competition.
The hosts could have made their life easier, had they not blown two set points in the first set, allowing Luxembourg to come back from 22-24 down and take an early lead.
Led by tournament MVP Stephanos Haridimou’s 28 points and an impressive attacking efficiency of 67% (26/39), Cyprus bounced back to take the next three sets and clinch their third title in five editions of the competition. Nikolaos Eleftheriou added 18 points for the winners and contributed to their overall attacking of 54%, compared to Luxembourg’s 35%.
Charel Hoffmann and Steve Weber scored 18 points each for Luxembourg, who out-blocked Cyprus nine stuffs to six claiming both middle blocker positions on the tournament’s Dream Team.
Defending champions Scotland had to settle for bronze, crushing San Marino 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-17). Pressing from the service line for nine aces to two and subsequently out-blocking their opponents eight stuffs to two, Scotland were led by top scorer of the game Conor Walker, on 10 points. It was the second bronze for Scotland, after their third-place finish in 2012.
Debutants Faroe Islands had previously outlasted Northern Ireland 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-22, 25-23) to finish fifth in the standing. Oskar Weihe scored 16 points for the Faroe Islands, to counter Northern Ireland’s superiority at the net with eight stuffs to one and 49% kills to 39%.
Dream Team of the Tournament
MVP: Stephanos Haridimou (CYP)
Setter: Philippe Glesener (LUX)
Opposite: Stephanos Haridimou (CYP)
Outside spikers: Nikolaos Eleftheriou (CYP) and Charel Hoffmann (LUX)
Middle blockers: Yannick Erpelding (LUX) and Philipp Schenk (LUX)
Libero: Stuart Mackenzie (SCO)
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