The home team of Andorra was in great form in the gold medal match and well supported by the home crowd they triumphed, beating Luxembourg 3-1 to claim the throne.
Luxembourg started the first set with a very traditional play and strong attacks by its powerful outside hitters and it seemed that the day would be theirs while the home teams seemed stressed losing the first set 25-18.
The second set gave the tone to a fantastic show where the home team managed a fierce battle on the floor with great libero movements and great saves when it counted the most to secure the second set, 25-23. It was close but the set also revealed that the Andorra team was on the court to fight for every loose ball and punished with good counterattacks that were the thorn in the side of the Luxembourg team throughout the remainder of the match. This was perhaps the difference between the teams, better defence formation and reception on Andorra’s side, including better setting tactics in particular on the centre net.
The third set started with a good lead from Andorra 5-2 but Luxembourg managed to get over 6-5, again Andorra forced Luxembourg to a timeout leading 10-7, but Andorra maintained the lead until Luxembourg evened at 23-23, but Andorra took the 2 last points. This was definitely very disappointing for the Luxembourg team which did not recover after losing 2 sets in a row with the minimum difference.
In the fourth set, there was one team dominating the scene, Andorra prevailed in every aspect of the match with strong attacks and great saves and a well-functioning libero that performed his job well. The results 25-13 seemed too big but the Luxembourg team gave in and was outperformed by the new crown holders from Andorra.
For Andorra, the outside hitter Nahuel Tagliaferro was the king of the court while Luxembourg, Christian Galloppo was the best performer.
Northern Ireland beats Ireland in a derby to claim the bronze
The much-anticipated derby match offered a great clash between Ireland and Northern Ireland for the bronze was settled in Andorra. The Irish team led by the outside hitter Liam Corcoran claimed the first set 26-24, supported by the libero Mark Christie who made great saves at times. The Northern Ireland team showed great performance in the next three sets and their squad was in a fighting spirit, winning the second set 25-23, the third set 25-21 and the fourth 25-20.
This derby match revealed that the teams are very close in a performance like the sets results reveal but the Northern Ireland team had to pull out everything in their arsenal to secure this win and their strong outside hitters Jack McMurray and Luiz Van Der Feltz were constant in their play the whole match together with a strong block that outperformed the Irish squad in the end. The words of the team captain Callum Grieve summed up the match when stating: ,We had to put everything into this match, what we had left in us after the first set and play as hard as we could. We matched their efforts and we played better than them and in the end we were the better team.‘
Liechtenstein took the 5th place
Liechtenstein clinched the fifth spot in the SCA U20 Men’s Championship with a 3-0 victory over the youthful Gibraltar squad, 25-18, 25-5, 25-20. Despite their best efforts, the Gibraltar boys were outpaced, but they showed amazing resilience in the first and third sets. It must be noted that this is Gibraltar’s first international appearance for a men’s team, and in that respect, it is a win for Gibraltar to compete among their European colleagues – something that gives a new tone for their future development. Liechtenstein performed admirably overall, and the team has a good potential to represent the future men’s national team.
3. Northern Ireland
Best Setter – #12 LUX Kylian Durante
Best Opposite – #3 AND Xavier Mas
Best Outside hitters – #3 LUX Christian Galloppo #2 AND Nahuel Tagliaferro
Best Middle blockers – #8 LUX David Zehren #12 AND Eric Forné
Best Libero – #2 IRL Davoren Ciagan