Scotland claim SCA title to secure historic qualification for #EuroVolleyU20M


Article Mon, Jan 29 2024

On Sunday, Scotland and San Marino played an all-important match in Dublin. It was not only a championship match – it was also a battle for a highly coveted ticket to the Final Round of this year’s #EuroVolleyU20M, since the competition run by Volleyball Ireland and the Small Countries Association (SCA) in Dublin did count as a zonal qualifier for the continental championship as well. 

Team Scotland celebrate their triumph at the SCA event in Dublin

The match is best described as a great thriller that offered excitement and constant turnarounds. It seemed that Scotland would take it in rather quick three sets, as their team showed a great performance in the first two sets, where the top scorer and opposite hitter Ewan Ramsay and setter Cole Turnbull did shine through – strong attacks by Ramsay were the decisive factor for the Scottish team’s supremacy (25-20 and 25-19). 

San Marino answered back with a win in the third set (25-21) and in the fourth, Nicoló Conti and Davide Garattoni were the key providers in their survival battle. San Marino managed to score nine points in a row to win it 25-21, after having trailed 16-21. It seemed that there was no hope at all but with an incredible performance San Marino mounted a truly remarkable comeback in an intriguing and dramatic championship match.

It was like a cold shower for the Scottish team that was suddenly facing a tiebreaker and it was evident that the players were shaken. The fifth set was a battle point for point until Scotland managed to break away to seal a 15-10 win with an impressive performance by their best player, Ewan Ramsay, who did steal the show again with strong hits and serves delivered when these were most needed. 

It was a great performance on both sides of the net but there was only place for one winner, this time for Scotland that took the 2024 SCA U20 Men’s Championship title and advanced to the Final Round of #EuroVolleyU20M to play there against the top teams in Europe. Scotland won all their matches easily, with the only exception of their final fixture against San Marino.

“The progress that has been made over the last four months since October’s defeat in Ireland is incredible! We will be looking to build on the good practice we have established to prepare the team in the most effective way we can ahead of the finals."

Alastair Jack
Head coach of Team Scotland
Scotland in action during their 'final match' with San Marino

Margaret Ann Fleming, MBE, Scottish Volleyball CEO, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to watch our young men demonstrate true grit and determination matched with ability and skill to win the 2024 U20 Men Small Countries Association Championships in Dublin, Ireland.  As chief executive, I want to extend a huge thanks to all of the players who came and competed in Dublin, to our Scotland squad, all of the parents, our coaching staff and office staff working behind the scenes back home, Dave Comrie – our referee delegate at the championship and to all the clubs for their constant commitment to developing our next generation of players.  Finally, Scottish Volleyball looks forward to these young players historically representing Scotland in our first-ever European Championship in Serbia and Greece!”  
Scotland has never reached the finals of a European Championship before and have only won their Zonal Championships three times previously (U20 Men in 2014, Senior Men in 2019, Senior Women in 2021).  

This qualification guarantees a top-15 spot in Europe and a mountain of ranking points. Scottish Volleyball is now seeking sponsors and partners as they enter a huge six months and a new era for Volleyball in Scotland.   
Dream Team of SCA U20 Men’s Championship in Dublin: 

MVP and Opposite hitter: Ewan Ramsay (Scotland)
Opposite hitters: Nicoló Conti (San Marino) and Davide Garattoni (San Marino) 
Setter: Cole Turnbull (Scotland) 
Libero: Syed Uzair Nabi (Scotland) 
Middle blockers: Duncan MacDonald (Scotland) and Luca Volpinari (San Marino)

Players from Scotland and San Marino compose the Dream Team of the SCA championship