Methody was the venue for this year’s NIVA Cup and on Saturday 9th April, 21 teams arrived (11 men’s and 10 women’s) looking forward to a fun filled day of volleyball.
The Men’s and Women’s teams followed the same format with teams playing each other once in group stages and then based on results, progressing into either the cup or the plate where they would play quarter and semi finals and then the final.
Skea 1 and Aztecs 2 got things under way promptly at 10am with timed set matches continuously played on the 3 courts all day until the finals. The Cup format reverted back to a 1 day tournament this year and it was great to see all the clubs from the league represented with teams in the cup and a good range of players there from those who had just taken up volleyball this season, to those who had played at international level all in the same hall.
Queens, North Down and Aztecs 1 progressed well from the Group Stages for the women and Ulster Jordanstown, Lynx and Blaze 1 progressed well for the Men.
In the Women’s Plate, Ulster Jordanstown defeated Skea 1 and Aztecs 1 defeated Blaze to set up a final between the 2 with Ulster Jordanstown coming out on top.
In the Women’s Cup, Queens (who still hadn’t lost a set of volleyball all season) narrowly defeated Ulster Coleraine to set up a final with North Down who came back after losing the 1st set against PVC to win on points difference. Queens continued their phenomenal season and beat North Down 2-0 in the final.
In the Men’s draw, Aztecs 1 and 2 battled for bragging rights and a place in the Plate final against a newly re-formed Queens team who had edged out North Down in the other semi. Aztecs 1 came through their semi and went on to defeat Queens 2-0.
Finally the Men’s Cup was played between Lisburn Lynx; who beat a solid Blaze side playing close to their best after a disappointing 2nd half of the season and Richhill; who managed to get the better of Ulster Jordanstown on the day. The players from the other teams who had been knocked out were able to watch a thrilling final between 2 good teams in an unpredictable match where momentum continually shifted. It went to a deciding set and it was Lisburn Lynx who held their nerve to win 2-1.
Throughout the day the officials at the matches voted on an MVP from each team and these were counted and interim NIVA President Paddy Murphy made a special presentation to the winners: Caroline Goodliffe of Ballymoney Blaze for the women and Mark Fulton of Richhill Raiders for the men.
A big thank you to Methodist College Belfast for the hall, Paddy Murphy for the presentations and for the teams and everyone that took part and to the following people without whom the day couldn’t have happened: Paddy, Vincent, Nick, Paddy, Stuart, Jane and Kathryn.