Cup exit as Ragazzi march on to a clean sweep!
After a two week lay-off, competitive volleyball returned to the calendar. Dundee’s men travelled west to Coatbridge for a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against the top side in the country. City of Glasgow Ragazzi are in an all-conquering season, leading the Premier League, having dropped only 2 sets, won the John Syer Grand Prix earlier in February and heading for a triple winning season. There was no fear in the Dundee side as they took an early 6/2 lead, with scores by Boris Prodanov and Oz Dowie and a service point from Rad Marinov. The home side responded as expected and powered their way back into the set, taking the lead at 9/7. A service error and a point from Dave Bonnar levelled the scores at 9/9. Ragazzi then won their next 3 points with their first attack but surrendered each one with a service error. With the score at 12/12 both sides were caught up in the tension of the game and gave away points in errors as the visitors put the home attack under pressure. Barry Millar and Dowie scored a net block and when Lewis hit a winner from the right side of the court, Dundee were leading 21/20. Ragazzi won their side out point and coach John Scrimgeour called his second time-out as the Ragazzi captain, Marc McLaughlin was about to serve for the home side. The danger was obvious as he had won points from his service earlier in the set. The interruption was to no avail as McLaughlin powered over 4 big serves.
A handling error and a point in counter attack gave the home side a 23/21 advantage and as the serve forced Dundee into slow, high attacks from poor receives, the home block snuffed out both Prodanov and Dowie to win the set 25/21.
That was as close as the visitors got to the Champions elect. A run of 6 points from the Stuart Caldwell service gave Ragazzi a 13/6 lead which was soon 21/10, as Dundee felt the full weight and power of the home net play. Polish import, Eddie Gorecki, was proving unstoppable as the home side took the set 25/13.
A change of formation by the Dundee side helped keep the third set closer as Colin Mcevoy and Dowie both worked hard at the net in attack and defence. Ragazzi led 18/13 and again the Caldwell serve was to cause problems and weaken the Dundee attack. Prodanov scored 2 big hits on the left side of the court but the side, bristling with Scottish Internationalists plus Gorecki, cruised to a 25/18, win just inside 60 minutes.