Ireland hosted its 1st ever Teqvoly Championship in conjunction with Kilkenny Spartans VC that took place at the Watershed Sports Centre in Kilkenny last Sunday.
Sixteen doubles pairings of male and female players of different combinations competed against one another as every player took on a new Volleyball challenge, and embraced the game quickly once they got more repetitive usage of the table.
Already a High quality International field assembled upon Kilkenny for the 2nd showing of the Spartans Mixed Volley Cup, which led to the quality of play improving rapidly as the competition progressed to the latter stages. Poland was the most represented of the 32 competitors, having 11 players on show.
Teams were placed in 4 pools of 4 with the Top 2 advancing. Games were one set shootouts when one team reached 12 points. Benny O’Regan, Spartans VC Coach, and Phil Fitzgerald, FITEQ representative and the supplier of the Teqvoly tables for the day, were both on hand to give expert advice to the players on the rules before and during the games. At times, some excellent play was on show that would leave you breathless. Who knows what a bit of practice can do the longer these players get used to the game.
First ever games would start in Pool A, where Kilkenny based Italian Brother/sister duo of Debora and Alessio Forlì dominated all their games to come top, followed by another mixed pairing but of Polish descent, Kama Teteryczka/Pawel Iwinski
Pool B proved to be a tighter affair with all teams acquiring at least one win from their 3 games. However, it would be the eventual finalists of Dublin based duo couple Marcin Szklarek and Mexican Paola Rosas, and Polish IT Carlow duo Adrian and Pawel Nowak who would advance to the quarter finals ahead of Viera Jahodova Bartek Szczepanski and Moldovans Cristian Rotaru and Daniela Scutari.
Dublin based students Zubin Mathew and Dawid Olechnowicz proved too strong for everyone in Pool C, although they were pushed to the wire by UCD Mateusz Olzewski & Emily Frazell who would join them in the quarter finals.
UCD would be well represented as the only All-female team in the competition, Irish International Volleyball players Orla Lynch & Fiona Lamont would join them in the quarter finals with two wins as they trailed in behind the pool D winners, Irish International Beach Volleyball duo Andrew Goti and Janush Stolarek, one of only 2 teams who participated just in the Teqvoly Cup.
The Mathew/Olechnowicz slick partnership kept them in winning ways with a comprehensive 12:7 win over Orla Lynch & Fiona Lamont to take the First semi final spot. They would next challenge Szklarek & Rosas as the couple squeezed past the Forlì siblings who showed good fight to claw it back to 11:11 but the sudden death point proved just a small step too far.
The Mens pairing of Pinczura & Nowak steadied their ship with nice control play throughout the elimination stages and seemed the most consistent of all competing teams. They would dominate the all-Polish affair against Teteryczka/Iwinski 12:6. They would discover they would have to take another male pairing of Goti & Stolarek in the semis who comfortably dispatched the last UCD team left of Olzewski & Frazell 12:5
The semis opening rallies were nervy as conservative play dominated the early exchanges, with teams relying more on their opponents errors.
First semi saw exactly that but the play got better when the players had loosened up, thus witnessing a compelling fight. It went down to the wire but Szklarek/Rosas would edge it 12:10, relegating Mathew & Olechnowicz to the Bronze Medal match.
The other semi was an all-male affair, seeing Poland v Ireland lock horns. The power, speed and quality in accuracy was aplenty as this ding dong battle would prove to be the making of Adrian Pinczura and Pawel Nowak as they advanced to the final.
Goti and Stolarek were well peeved with letting such a game slip, and wouldnt let lightning strike twice as they took control over Mathew & Olechnowicz when it counted to claim 3rd Place.
The top 2 Pool B now met for a second time in the day. Round 1 went to Marcin and Paola 12:10. However, the final would be a different story in this Best of 3 SETS final, First to 8 points.
The Polish Boys would use their muscle and smartness to good effect as they took a strong grip on proceeedings, forcing their opponents into uncharacteristic errors through a powerful display. In the end, They would get their revenge where it mattered, winning in straight sets 8:5, 8:4, thus being crowned the first ever winners of a Teqvoly competition in Ireland.