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Home stars Beattie and Coutts victorious in zonal event in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland, May 15, 2017 - The 2017 Scottish Volleyball Association (SVA) and Small Countries Division (SCD) Beach Volleyball season kicked off this weekend at Portobello, Edinburgh with a Women’s Zonal Event featuring local heroes Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts who claimed Scotland's first ever victory on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in Sydney in March.

The competition started out on Friday night with the Scottish teams battling it out to get into Round 2 on the Friday night and then Round 3 on the Saturday.

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With lots of exciting juniors on display, it was great to see them all competing and showing their potential for the future.

Walker/Paterson and Marcinska/Michalik progressed from the pools into Round 2 to face one another. A very strong service display from Marcinska/Michalik allowed them to get the all-important victory (2-0) to move into Round 3 against the top seeds.

Saturday started with #1 seeds Beattie/Coutts taking on the other Scottish pairing of Lee/Waldie. The young side from Edinburgh competed extremely well but couldn’t cope with the experience and physical strength of the top Scottish side.

Ireland, Luxembourg and Denmark made up the country quota for the competition. Denmark were granted a wild card by CEV in a new format which allows teams to play in different Zones.

Lynne Beattie keeps the ball in play

Ireland’s Carey/Gormally showed their intent early on with a very good victory against Marcinksa/Michalik and then took #1 seeds Beattie/Coutts to 3 sets before sealing their semifinal spot with a 2-0 victory over Lee/Waldie.

Beattie/Coutts progressed from Pool 1 winning their matches but not before receiving a big scare from a fantastic Irish side.

In the other half of the draw, the Danes Sondergard/Okholm showed their intent early progressing through the group in style with 3 wins out of 3 and playing some fantastic stuff.

Luxembourg’s team of Grethen/Klerf ensured they had qualified early for the semifinals by beating the Irish teams of Roantree/Halpin and Allen/Molloy before going down to the Danes.

With the semifinals set for both the main competition and the Plate, the teams could rest on Saturday night with a focus on winning their respective competitions on the Sunday.

The Plate Competition kicked off very early on the Sunday morning. Marcinska/Michalik had an extremely hard fought match against Ireland's Allen/Molloy and managed to scrape through to the Plate Final with a 15-12 third set victory.

Scotland’s Lee/Waldie showed a lot of good stuff and potential but the experience of Ireland's Roantree/Halpin showed when it counted with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) victory. The Final and the third place playoff was all set and it was Marcinska and Michalik who came out on top with great determination and passion to win the tie 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) and claim the Plate Competition while Lee/Waldie went down to Allen/Molloy in straight sets.

The first semifinal was between Beattie/Coutts and Grethen/Klerf. With the Luxembourg left hander carrying a bad knee injury, the Scots took no time in exposing this with some great serving and good transition play. The Luxembourg team kept fighting but just couldn’t find a way to penetrate the Scots breaking defence. Scotland qualified for the Final with a 2-0 (21-6, 21-9) victory.

Sondergard/Okholm took on Carey/Gormally from Ireland in the second semifinal and the Danes had to pull out all their tricks as the Irish put on a great display of counter attack ensuring the Danish side didn’t get their own way. Denmark scraped through the first set 21-18 but took control of the match in the 2nd set to set up the final against Scotland with a 21-9 set win.

The third place playoff was a tense affair for more than the beach volleyball. During the first set, the Event Control Gazebos were lifted into the air and onto the court. Luckily no one was hurt and play resumed. Both teams gave their all but Ireland came out on top with some smart play by both Carey/Gormally.

Both Scotland and Denmark were ready for the final but it was Denmark who came out tough in the first set creating a good five point lead early which Scotland was always chasing. The block defence system from the Danes put the Scots under a lot of pressure and they couldn’t quite close the gap, losing the first set 21-16.

That wasn’t going to deter the Scottish team. With a completely different attitude in the 2nd set, Beattie managed to reenergise Coutts and the team played some of their best ever beach volleyball. The pressure mounted on the Danes took its toll and the Scots went on to win the set 21-11 setting up a tiebreaker for the championship.

Scotland started very brightly and maintained a three-point lead until the end of the set at 13-11 up. Denmark found a good serve at 13-11 down to break the passing unit of Scotland and then followed it up with a strong transition play. The teams went side out through the next phase of play which was undoubtedly some of the best quality of beach over the whole weekend, especially at this crucial time.

Up stepped Beattie, ably assisted with great setting by Coutts, with some decisive shots to close out the match for Scotland 18-16 and celebrate the end of a fantastic tournament for the team.

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