Category Archives: FIVB

CEV Schools Project returns to Cork

The CEV Schools Project returned to Cork this December, thus bringing additional schools with more players into Volleyball. The six-week project began at the end of October with an introductory training day for physical education teachers. This built a base knowledge and allowed the schools to spend the next five weeks preparing their students for the fun blitzes scheduled for December 3-4 in Father Mathews Arena, Cork.

A total of 250 primary school students and over 100 post primary students will participate over the two days. The event will mean schools can compete at a similar beginner level and have challenging games through a fun and relaxed environment.

The project has much to do with the now well-established Cork club Netforce VC. The newly formed junior section will help these students have an avenue to Volleyball they can seek out after school is over to continue their development within the game. Schools will also be assisted into Volleyball Ireland’s national school competitions starting early in 2020. The real success story being Walterstown national school who started their volleyball journey at this same event last year, then making it all the way to an incredible National semi-final.

Volleyball Ireland would like to thank Cork Sports Partnership in working together on this venture and in particular James Kirby who has been a direct link and promoter of the project for the last two years.  Together, the two parties have grown from 120 primary students to an incredible 250 in just one short year. It is exciting to see where they will go next!

Volleyball Ireland host first international Youth Blitz & Camp

This weekend youth teams from across three nations will descend upon Gormanston Park College Sports complex for Volleyball Ireland’s first ever youth development blitz and camp. The weekend camp will aim to build experience for younger players through some challenging matches, without the pressure of international competition.

The event will involve teams representing Denmark and Northern Ireland, as well as a range of regional representative teams made up of Ireland’s national team members and players from the new National Youth League. The blitz style event is partly funded through the CEV/SCA development fund and the Participation to Performance Programme. The schedule and concept will help prepare young players for international competition in the future.

General Manager of Volleyball Ireland, Gary Stewart said, “A key part of the strategy is to provide more opportunities for our young players to grow and learn and we are grateful to the CEV and Small Countries Association for their support. I am sure the players and coaches will gain a lot from the weekend and I would especially like to credit our Development Officer Conor Flood for his drive and determination while developing this project. It will be great to have our friends from Denmark and Northern Ireland with us for the weekend.”

This is the first international youth event of this kind hosted by Volleyball Ireland. The aim is to grow the event, providing opportunities for young Irish Volleyballers to enjoy, learn and develop their skills. It will be the first in a series of international age group events that will provide opportunities for players to reach their potential.

If anyone wishes to come along and watch, there is free entry.

The teams will kick-start the weekend with some training slots on Friday evening. Games will commence 9.30am, Saturday November 30 and will run through until 5pm. Then it is onto dinner and Saturday night activities exclusively for the players and coaches.

The camp will finish on Sunday morning with some light training sessions and fun mixed games.

Players and Coaches of the Year headline annual #VolleyGala

Europe’s Volleyball family paid tribute to the very best players and coaches of the year 2019 at the glittering gala held this past Friday in Sofia, Bulgaria. Serbia’s superstars Tijana Bošković and Uroš Kovačević were the recipients of the awards for the Female and Male Volleyball Player of the Year, respectively, after they claimed EuroVolley top honours with their national teams. Slobodan Kovač and Massimo Barbolini, on the other hand, were the Coaches of the Year honoured in the Bulgarian capital.

“Finally, after missing the previous editions of the European Gala, I have the pleasure of sharing such a wonderful moment with the whole Volleyball family,” a visibly emotional Bošković said, as she received the trophy for the Female Player of the Year for the third straight time. “I am obviously happy and proud and would like to thank my family, my teams, National Federation and coaches for all of their support,” added the two-time European champion, 2018 World champion and 2016 Olympic silver medallist, who, at the age of 22, has a resume many much more experienced players can only dream about. “Despite achieving so much success these last few years, I still want to continue to work hard to give my all to this beautiful sport.”

Just like Bošković, Uroš Kovačević was not only a EuroVolley gold medal winner this year, but the Most Valuable Player of the continental prime competition as well. He achieved further success with his Italian club TRENTINO Itas, securing two more titles from the CEV Cup and FIVB Club World Championship. “I would like to thank my coaches because they make me enjoy what I love the most – playing Volleyball,” said the outside hitter, who hails from a Volleyball family, since elder brother Nikola was a long-time member of the Serbian national team as well.

What a trio! The Coach and Male Player of the Year, Slobodan Kovač (left) and Uros Kovačević (right) portrayed together with Bulgarian Volleyball legend Dimitar Zlatanov

It was a truly successful year for Serbia, whose national teams claimed both EuroVolley crowns; this meant they repeated a feat that they had achieved in 2011 already. The men’s triumph in Paris was possibly more of a surprise than the women’s victory in Ankara, especially after a change at the helm of the team following a heavy loss to Italy in an Olympic qualifying event back in August. This is when Slobodan Kovač stepped in to replace Nikola Grbić and lead Serbia to their third EuroVolley title in history. 

“I am obviously proud of our achievement but most of the credit should go to my players,” Kovač said, “since they executed the game plans I prepared together with my staff in a perfect and impeccable way. There was a perfect understanding between us and we always did the right thing at the right moment,” added the 2000 Olympic champion with the former Yugoslavia. Under his guidance, Serbia did not drop a single game at EuroVolley and among their opponents, only Ukraine and France were able to take the match to a fifth set in the quarterfinals and semis, respectively. It was a truly remarkable year for Kovač, who celebrated further success with Belogorie BELGOROD of Russia in the 2019 edition of the CEV Challenge Cup.

The Players and Men’s Team Coach of the Year on stage in Sofia together with all other awardees from the European Volleyball Gala 2019

Massimo Barbolini was not able to attend the gala in Sofia but sent a video message to share his pride for receiving the award designed for the Women’s Team Coach of the Year. This was a well-deserved recognition, especially after he helped Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA claim their maiden CEV Champions League title at the historic Super Finals in Berlin. This accounted for Barbolini’s fourth triumph in the competition – with as many teams.

Pictured above: CEV President Aleksandar Boričić together with the Male and Female Players of the Year, Uros Kovačević and Tijana Bošković

Scotland poised to host SCA Beach Volleyball Finals

Beach Volleyball is a fast-paced sport that is easy to learn but hard to take your eyes off. Whether it is the 120kph serves that the top players can pull out or a sneaky tip from an up-and-coming junior, Beach Volleyball forces players to be at their physical peak whilst reading an incredibly tactical game.

As such, the Scottish Volleyball Association are proud to be bringing the Small Countries Association (SCA) Beach Volleyball Finals 2019 to Perth thanks to a partnership with Perth and Kinross Council. Not only does this mean four days of international level Beach Volleyball for the people of Perth, but it also allows for the creation of a permanent inland Beach Volleyball Centre in Perth. The former bowling green at Darnhall Tennis Club is being replaced by 400 tonnes of sand in order to provide a fantastic facility for local and national athletes and members of the public alike.

The SCA brings together fifteen of the smallest Volleyball playing nations in Europe to create a more level playing field. The fifteen are made up of nations such as Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Andorra, Luxembourg and even the Faroe Islands and Cyprus. As this event is in Scotland, there are three guaranteed places for Scottish pairs in both the men’s and women’s competition.

Events such as the SCA Beach Finals are becoming increasingly important following the amazing announcement that Beach Volleyball will be a part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It has also been agreed to have a wild card pair in both the men’s and women’s competition from leading European Federations, these pairs will be bringing all of their experience and skills.

Qualifying for the Main Draw will take place on the Thursday afternoon, from 3pm onwards. This is a prime chance to spot some of the best up-and-coming Scottish Junior Beach Volleyball athletes before the Main Draw begins on the Friday morning. The top athletes from the pool phases will then move onto the quarterfinals and eventually semi-finals on the Saturday afternoon.

These are certainly not to be missed with teams doing their everything to make Sunday’s final. Finally, the organisers will be hoping for one more day of sun for the Finals over lunchtime on the Sunday, as sadly they can guarantee the sand but not the sun.

The event will take place from September 19 to 22. The Finals will take place on Sunday, September 22, from 1pm to 3pm.

Ireland launches fundamental Movement Skills programme

Volleyball Ireland were delighted to launch a new programme as part of the CEV Schools Project. Mini Spikers uses Volleyball to develop Fundamental Movement Skills in children aged 5-8 years old. This focus on physical literacy reinforces the building blocks for all sports with specific games to aid improvement in running, catching, throwing and hitting.  The first intake of schools took part in a launch event at Volleyball Ireland’s National Finals Weekend in May where over 50 children from local primary schools enjoyed Volleyball for the first time.

Programme Coordinator Jessie Carmody said, “Mini Spikers is about helping children improve their agility, balance and coordination as well as other elements of physical literacy. Research has shown that if a child has competent physical literacy, they are more likely to stay in sport. For Volleyball, it is vital that children can throw, catch, strike and jump before we introduce the specific skills of the dig, serve and spike. It is about getting the right foundation in place. There is a positive correlation between a child’s competency level and their enjoyment of a sport. And if they enjoy a sport, they will keep playing.”

Mini Spikers is part of a thorough pathway for participation in Ireland, which includes age appropriate adapted games for children from 5 years old right through to active elders aged 95 years old.

The programme is open to all schools with teacher training and resources provided to help school staff introduce Mini Spikers.

2 weeks to go: Ireland hosts historic Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualifier

There is only two weeks to go until some of the best Beach Volleyballers in Europe descend on Bettystown for an international Beach Volleyball competition. The Continental Cup is part of the Tokyo 2020 qualifying series and it will see eight teams battle it out to progress to the second stage. The tournament is taking place in Ireland for the first time, and will become one of the first Olympic team qualifying tournaments held on the island.

The event will see Denmark, Estonia and Slovakia join the hosts in the women’s section, whilst Scotland, Ukraine and Lithuania take on Ireland in the men’s draw.  Excitement is building in the Volleyball community as final preparations take shape. President of Volleyball Ireland Grainne Culliton said, “The Continental Cup is a chance in a lifetime opportunity to see an Olympic qualifier taking place in Ireland. It will be a great weekend of sport and we urge everyone to pop to Bettystown and take a look; it is an incredibly exciting sport with some phenomenal athletes on show.”

The Ireland team will be announced next week, but there is an expectation that Izzy Carey will take the no.1 jersey for Ireland in the women’s team. Carey, who represents UCLA in the American College competition, has recently been awarded the prestigious PAC-10 Student Athlete of the Year Award as she led her Californian College to an unprecedented unbeaten season.  Carey added, “I am thrilled to be pulling on the green jersey again and representing Ireland. It gives me enormous pride and I am excited to meet up with the rest of the squad next week.”

The event will include two competition courts as well come try it activities for children and adults. Volleyball Ireland are also running fun blitzes in local schools ahead of the event as well as a Beginners session for adults on the Thursday evening.  Entry is free of charge all weekend with games all day Saturday and Sunday (June 1 and 2). Click here for further information on the Continental Cup.

CEV President visits SCA tournament, meets with Luxembourg Volleyball family

On Friday, CEV President Aleksandar Boričić paid a visit to d’Coque, the iconic National Sports and Culture Centre in Luxembourg City, and more specifically to the women’s Small Countries Association (SCA) Championship that started earlier today and will run there until Sunday.

The CEV President enjoyed some time with the leadership of the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation (FLVB), now chaired by Ms Norma Kemp-Zambon, discussing opportunities for further cooperation with the Grand Duchy’s Volleyball family. The FLVB are currently playing host to the first official SCA competition this year, with participation of the national teams of Faroe Islands, Greenland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

It was the first such meeting with FLVB President Kemp-Zambon, as the CEV and FLVB wish to continue their partnership, which has been especially close since the CEV moved to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg back in the late 80s. The CEV President wished everyone involved in the SCA championship the best of luck as well as a smooth delivery of the event, which adds to the list of international tournaments and competitions successfully hosted by the FLVB in recent years.

Picture:
the CEV President portrayed together with FLVB President Norma Kemp-Zambon (far right), international referee and President of the FLVB Refereeing Commission Carole Hepp (far left) and the President of the FLVB Finance Commission, Ms Françoise Rossi-Wetzel.

Red Lionesses of Luxembourg claim historic SCA title on home soil

Luxembourg are the winners of the 2019 Small Countries Association (SCA) women’s championship. The ‘Red Lionesses’ fought their way back from a set down to secure a 3-1 victory in the gold medal match with Scotland played on Sunday afternoon at the iconic d’Coque in Luxembourg City. This success bodes well for the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) that Luxembourg will be contesting later this month in Montenegro.

Luxembourg lost the first set 23-25 but regrouped to claim three in a row (26-24, 27-25, 25-21) at the end of a very close fight to end the Scottish winning streak in the tournament. The Scots were yet to lose a single set going into the gold medal match.

After three competition days, Faroe Islands completed the podium, courtesy of their 3-0 victory (25-11, 25-13, 25-11) in the bronze medal match with Northern Ireland. Ireland settled for the fifth place after securing their first victory in the competition in the classification match with Greenland (3-0; 25-15, 25-23, 25-18).

Despite the absence of some SCA powerhouses such as Cyprus and Iceland, it is a truly historic success for Team Luxembourg. Never before had the ‘Red Lionesses’ claimed gold from the SCA (formerly SCD) event. Luxembourg had previously finished runners-up four times (2005, 2007, 2013 and 2017).

Photo courtesy of volleyball.lu.

Volleyball Ireland announce main sponsor for women’s national team

Volleyball Ireland are delighted to announce W.E.D Consulting Ltd as their main women’s team sponsor for 2019.

The Dublin-based consultancy firm specialises in cost management, quantity surveying, project management and specialist project-control services on development and construction projects in Ireland and abroad. The partnership will see W.E.D Consulting becoming Team Ireland’s main sponsor for the Small Countries Association Championship, which begin in Luxembourg today, May 10.

Kevin Murphy, Managing Director of W.E.D Consulting said, “We are thrilled to be involved with the Irish national team in one of the most exciting and innovative team sports there is. We see great potential for the sport and we look forward to supporting the development of Irish Volleyball at an international level. As a company, we work in a fast-paced environment where innovation, vision and growth is key – it’s great to work with an organisation that shares those values.”

Ireland kick off their campaign against the Faroe Islands at 1 pm CET before taking on auld rivals Scotland at 6 pm. The competition also sees Greenland, Northern Ireland and hot favourites Luxembourg competing. Live streaming of the matches is available through the official Facebook page of the Luxembourg Volleyball Federation.

General Manager of Volleyball Ireland Gary Stewart added, “I am delighted to have WED in place as our senior team sponsor. We are putting in place development structures that will create a pathway from participation to performance but to do that needs support and having an Irish company providing that help is a key part of the jigsaw.”

Galway Volleyball Club’s Olivia Molloy is captaining the team and commented, “I would like to personally thank Kevin and WED for their support. The girls will represent Ireland and WED with great pride over the coming days. We have prepared well all year and cannot wait to get going.”

It is a big few weeks for Volleyball Ireland with the Beach Volleyball Continental Cup coming to Bettystown over the June Bank Holiday. Eight teams from across Europe will be competing with a main headline sponsor due to be announced next week.

Picture:
Seven of the Women’s Volleyball Team with Kevin Murphy of WED Consulting depart Dublin Airport to Luxembourg.

CEV School Project in the spotlight at EU Sport Forum

CEV Senior Vice-President Renato Arena attended last week the annual EU Sport Forum, this time held in Bucharest, Romania. Mr Arena was one of five speakers of the panel addressing the attendees on a truly important subject, i.e. ‘How can schools better contribute to the promotion of healthy lifestyles?’  

The CEV Senior Vice-President emphasised the role and importance of the Erasmus + funded CEV School Project, which aims at enhancing physical activity among children in Europe by introducing a new concept of the Volleyball game at school, with a focus on growing the game at the grassroots level.

The project has already been an extremely successful one with activities carried out in countries as diverse as Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Ireland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Slovenia – with more due to follow.  

Mr Arena was one of five speakers along with Nicole Pisani from Chefs in Schools, Wojciech Kalamarz, Head of Health determinants and International Relations Unit, DG SANTE, European Commission, Otylia Jedrzejczak, Polish Olympic champion, and Kaisa Blomberg, teacher at Jyränkö school from Heinola, Finland.

The EU Sport Forum was a truly unique opportunity to provide further exposure to the leading and pioneering role played by the CEV with regard to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among school pupils and their involvement in physical activity, while spreading the core values that Volleyball stands out for such as teamwork, mutual respect and fair play.