CEV European Championship Small Countries Division
Day 1 of the CEV European Small Countries Division women’s championships got under way on Friday with a trio of matches.
Defending champion Cyprus kicked off the finals with a sweep of Faroe Islands. Scotland, the 2015 runner-up, followed with a 3-1 win over Iceland. The Cyprus squad played the night cap as well, falling to Luxembourg 3-1.
Cyprus 3, Faroe Islands 0 (25-12, 25-17, 26-24)
Cyprus led Set 1 from start to finish and took control of Set 2 at the midway point, but had to overcome an eight-point deficit in Set 3 to rally for the win. Cyprus grabbed the lead at 21-20, but Faroe Islands had the first shot at the set at 24-23. Cyprus then scored three straight to secure the sweep.
Cyprus hit at a 42 percent clip for the match, while outblocking their foes 7-5 and outserving them 8-6.
Vasiliki Chatzikonstanta and Erika Zembyla led Cyprus with 12 points apiece, while Andri Iordanous added 11 points, with nine kills and two aces. Chatzikonstanta served up four aces, while Zembyla chipped in two blocks and an ace.
Faroe Island’s Sofia Purkhus led all scorers with 14 points, including 11 kills and three blocks. Anja Sonnedottir Danielsen added 11 points, with eight kills, two aces and a block.
Scotland 3, Iceland 1 (25-21, 25-19, 20-25, 25-22)
Iceland outblocked Scotland 10-5, but the Scottish side took advantage of 37 Icelandic errors and served up eight aces in the winning effort.
Scotland trailed early in Set 1, but went on to a 16-14 mid-set lead en route to the victory. Set 2 was nearly all Scotland, with the advantage swelling to five in a 25-19 win. Iceland bounced back to lead Set 3 from wire to wire with help from nine Scottish miscues. Set 4 was a back-and-forth affair as the Scots led early, Ireland rallied to go up by three at 16-13, only to see it slip away in a 25-22 loss. A block and two aces were the difference in the final stanza.
Mhairi Agnew scored 14 points, including 11 kills and three blocks, while Laura McReady tallied 13 points, including three aces for Scotland. Jennifer Thom added 10 points, with nine kills and an ace.
Thelma Dogg Gretarsdottir tallied a match-high 19 points, with 15 kills, three blocks and an ace. Jona Guolaug Vigfusdottir added 12 points, with 11 kills and an ace. Fjola Rut Svavarsdottir put up a team-best four blocks.
Luxembourg 3, Cyprus 1 (25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20)
Host Luxemoubourg started the Small Country Championships by registering a four-set win over Cyprus, who was playing its second match of the day. Cyprus outblocked its foe 11-8, but allowed nine aces and committed 28 errors in the loss.
The Red Lion Ladies led Set 1 by as many as four and led nearly throughout Set 2, save a one-point deficit in the early stages. Luxembourg looked to be in control again in Set 3, leading by four, but Cyprus scored five straight points to steal away the 25-21 win. The home side went on to close out the match, dominating the latter stages of Set 4.
Betty Hoffman paced the Red Lions with 19 points, including 16 kills and three blocks. Annalena Mach (15), Nathalie Braas (13) and Isabelle Frisch (13) also added double-digit scoring efforts. Braas served up five aces, while Frisch and Mach added two apiece.
Andrea Charalambous, Andri Iordanous and Georgia Stavrinides posted 13 points apiece to lead Cyprus, while Erika Zembyla managed 11. Stavrinides tallied a match-high six blocks, while Charalambous put down 13 kills, followed by 10 each by Iordanous and Zembyla.