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New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Volleyball Champs
Photo by CGHS Publication

New Zealand Secondary Schools' Volleyball Champs

Charlotte Knight, team captain —

Overall individually, and as a team, we definitely peaked, played some of the best volleyball we have ever played and ended the season on an absolute high.

On Sunday 24 March the Senior A volleyball team met at the airport expecting to fly out that night, little did we know our flights had been changed and we were due to fly to Palmerston North on Monday morning at the crack of dawn before our first game!

Although it was a rocky start to the tournament, we started well to win all initial pool games and went through as top of our pool into the top 16 of our division. We carried on to the top 8 with 6 consecutive wins, without a loss in sight.

Thursday morning came and we all had our game faces on for our quarter final against Te Puke High School. It was definitely our most competitive game yet and after a hard four set battle we unfortunately lost 3-1. This changed our goal of the tournament from aiming for a gold medal, to placing 5th as this was the highest next placing we could get.

Thursday afternoon was time for a fresh approach to our semi-final against an Auckland team; One Tree Hill (OTH). This was the highlight game of the tournament, we came out firing and every player left their best efforts out on the court resulting in a 3-nil win. Matt Bilsbury (coach), Julia Hodgson (assistant coach), and Jo Mullen (team mum/manager) agreed to buy the whole team McDonalds if we won our semi-final, this was definitely an incentive to bring our A game! That night a very hyped van load of girls arrived back at the motel with tummies full of McDonalds, ready for a good night's sleep before Finals day.

Friday was an exciting but emotional day for the team as our 3 senior players Shana Ali, Millie Edwards and Charlotte Knight (captain) were preparing to play their last ever volleyball game for school. For our final game of the season and 5 years of CGHS volleyball, for some, we came up against Trident B. This was another amazing game to end the tournament on with a 3-1 win, the waterworks kicked in when the realisation came that school volleyball was over for us year thirteens!

The rest of the tournament consisted of celebrating, eating way too many treats and playing chubby bunny (who can fit the most marshmallows in their mouth). That night was the annual Volleyball Nationals ‘Social’. Much like a disco for almost 200 participating teams and the perfect way to celebrate the conclusion of tournament, followed by a trip to Burger King. While at burger king we bumped into Te Puke High School, the only team we lost to who went on to place 1st in our division. We congratulated each other and they showed their condolences for us, as a Christchurch team, due to the saddening events that happened in the earlier weeks of the volleyball season. It was heart-warming to see support from other teams around New Zealand such as Tauranga Girls’ who wore ‘Christchurch’ black bands on their arms when they played us.

Overall individually, and as a team, we definitely peaked, played some of the best volleyball we have ever played and ended the season on an absolute high.