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Malta U-18 thump Ireland in CEV SCA Championship opener

The Malta Under-18 women's national team. Photo: Malta Volleyball Association

Malta U-18 launched their campaign at the CEV SCA U-18 Women’s Championship in some style when they produced a masterclass of control and composure to thump Ireland 3-0 at the Cottonera Sports Complex.

The first set witnessed initial jitters from the Maltese team, with Ireland capitalizing on several unforced errors and gaining points through effective serving.

Despite this, Malta quickly regrouped, led by the formidable presence and inspired hitting of their captain, Shania Camilleri. Their renewed focus allowed them to overcome the early setbacks and clinch the set at 25-17.

In the second set, Malta showcased their youthful energy and strategic prowess, establishing an early lead that they continued to expand.

Despite tactical substitutions by the Irish coaching staff attempting to reverse the tide, Malta’s momentum proved unstoppable.

They dominated the set, winning 25-13 and extending their lead to 2-0 in the match.

The third set presented a more spirited challenge from Ireland, who fought tenaciously for every point from the outset, momentarily complicating matters for the hosts.

Nonetheless, Malta withstood the Irish resurgence, maintaining their composure and strategic gameplay to secure the set 25-13.

This victory not only won them the set but also sealed their opening match triumph with a clean sweep of 3-0, capturing all the points available.

Overall, Malta’s performance was a demonstration of strategic acumen and resilience, ensuring a strong start to their campaign in front of a home crowd.

Scotland edge Northern Ireland

In the opening match of the series, Scotland and Northern Ireland delivered a thrilling spectacle, unfolding over five intense sets that showcased the skill and tenacity of both teams.

Scotland set the tone early in the first set, swiftly establishing a four-point lead that they diligently maintained throughout, clinching the set at 25-21. Their initial dominance displayed a blend of strategic serving and robust defense.

In contrast, the second set morphed into a tightly contested battle, with the teams exchanging points in a tense showdown.

A strategic substitution by Northern Ireland’s coach, Karl Gale, proved pivotal. His tactical acumen in serving adjustments allowed Northern Ireland to gradually build a decisive lead, ultimately securing the set 25-19.

The third set saw Northern Ireland capitalize on their momentum, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead. They continued to dominate, stretching their advantage to a commanding 17-6, before closing out the set impressively at 25-13, thereby taking a 2-1 lead in the match.

However, Scotland responded vehemently in the fourth set. They surged ahead with an initial 5-0 lead and continued to extend their advantage, bolstered by sharp serving and effective blocking. Scotland’s revitalized effort led them to a decisive 25-12 victory, leveling the match at 2-2.

The decisive fifth set began with Scotland maintaining their resurgence, quickly establishing an 8-4 lead at the change of ends. Their early lead proved impossible for Northern Ireland, as Scotland clinched the final set 15-7, securing a 3-2 match victory.

Overall, the match was a compelling display of volleyball prowess, with Scotland overcoming early setbacks to triumph in a hard-fought battle.

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