Malta Girls beat Ireland in first game of European Championships

Friday, April 9, 2010, 8:01

The Malta Junior Girls national volleyball team started its commitments in the European Volleyball Championships in style by winning its first match against Ireland on the first day. The local girls played a very good match based on discipline and true grit, turning the result in their favour in the first set, and then never looking back until the end of the match.

Ireland started out on a good note, with Kate Bryan showing the way for her team, but Malta was soon in the match, with the score reading 6-8 in Ireland’s favour at the first technical Time Out, albeit Malta committing some mistakes in attack. But then some good services by captain Roxette Caruana and Daniela Ellul put the opponents’ reception in trouble, helping Malta to turn around the score 16-14 in their favour. Malta kept on playing well, basing its play on good services and a solid defence, to win this set 25-15.

Malta girls jubilant after their match vs Ireland

Malta girls jubilant after their match vs Ireland

The local girls continued showing great determination in the second set, going up 8-1 at the beginning. Roxette Caruana kept hurting Ireland’s defence especially through her services, and with Anna Grech improving in attack, Malta managed to keep its opponents’ at bay at the crucial moments. Leanne Spiteri also improved considerably in her block, and the local girls could administer their lead until the very end of this set, winning it 25-22.

Two good services by Denise Grech, and some very hard work by Lara Caruana in defence, helped Malta open a six point lead at the beginning of the third set. Ireland improved their play, and with Emma Stafford serving rather deep, the local girls were finding it difficult to build their own attacks. Malta’s concentration, especially in defence, wavered slightly in the middle part of this set, and Ireland immediately grabbed the opportunity, though Sinead Ruth, to close in at 16-14. However, the Maltese girls fought it out until the very end, winning this set 25-22, and the match 3-0.

Malta will face title hopefuls Cyprus and Luxembourg on the second day, two matches that will test Malta’s resilience and defence to the full. The last match will be against Liechtenstein which lost against these two teams on the first day of the competition.

One can follow these matches on the Web by going on, then clicking on Volleyball European Championships > Junior > Game Info > Women > Small Countries Division and then clicking on the Live button.

Malta: Spiteri S., Caruana R. (Cap.) 21, Abela R. (Libero), Grech D. 5, Caruana L. 3, Spiteri L. 3, Grech A. 13, Ellul D. 2. Opponents’ Mistakes: 28 pts.

Ireland: Halpin R. (Cap.) 2, Clancy H., O’Sullivan D. 1, Behan C. 3, Bryan K. 8, O’Rourke C., McCaul D., Cooney A., Stafford E. 7, Ruth S. 9, Higgins A. 2, Mellet S. (Libero) Opponents’ Mistakes: 27 pts.

Other Results: Liechtenstein – Cyprus 0-3 (22-25, 17-25, 21-25), Luxembourg – Liechtenstein 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-8)

Standings: Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Liechtenstein 2pts, Ireland 1 pt.

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