This week the South Island Junior Volleyball Tournament was held in Dunedin.
1 Win 2 Losses
A great first day for our Year 9's. Thrown into the fire, they got a taste of top quality volleyball opposition in their first game when they took on the power houses Nelson College. They went down 0-2 but learnt some valuable lessons during this game. They played Nayland College in their 2nd game and came away with a hard fought win 2-0. This meant that they qualified for the top 16. An amazing feat for a Year 9 team. In their first crossover match they came up against a title contender in Shirley Boys'. Our young men did not back down and took it to the much bigger Shirley team. Unfortunately we lost both sets 25-27 and 22-25. What a performance from our boys!
2 Wins 1 Loss
Our 10's won two games convincingly against Upwey, from Australia (2-0) in the morning and Middleton Grange (2-0) in the evening. Unfortunately, the old rivals, King's High, got the better of us in the afternoon game (1-2). The positive was that the lads shook that loss off and moved on to the next opponents and dominated. The win in the evening against Middleton Grange was a step closer to top 8. One more victory today (Wednesday) will solidify our spot in the top 8. Marlborough Boys' in the morning followed by Bayfield before lunch.
Our young battlers played Nelson Year 9's in the morning and after a seesaw battle in the first set, which they dropped 24-26, they suffered a blow in the second set with an injury to Harry Devereux. This threw a spanner in the works and coach Taine did his best to mix his rotation up. Unfortunately, it was a task too big this time around going down 16-25 in the 2nd. We look forward to meeting Nelson again next year in Christchurch.
Game two against Riccarton was another big task. With Devereux still out, Ben Tucker and Aaryan Alexander filled in with specific role in the front court. Riccarton (Canterbury 1) were just too clinical on the day and our boys went down 0-2.
Game 3 saw us against Bayfield Year 9's. A test of the progression and the transformation of this team was evident in the scoreline, which read 25-5, 25-15. A dominant performance in the serving game from Kalevini Hotesi saw 10 straight service points. A great way to end the night.
Our first game this morning was against Nelson 1, Malborough Boys'. This was our toughest test yet. Our boys stepped up and played an almost complete game. We applied the pressure early and found leaks in their receive serve game. Our blocks were too big for their attacks, forcing them to tip regularly. We eventually won the game 2-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-21). The win put us through to the top 8.
Game two was against Bayfield Year 9's. This gave us an opportunity to rest players and give quality and well deserved minutes to our bench players. We won this 2-0.
Quarter Finals v Nelson
Our boys prepared well after game two, especially having a 3 hour gap. Some time at the beach for lunch and back at school for a nanny nap put them into the right frame of mind for the challenge ahead. The first set we clicked. We were aggressive on attack and hustled on defence. We won this set 25-21. Leading into the 2nd, the message was to reset and focus again. With the scores at 19 all errors started to creep in and we lost our edge on attack, going down 20-25. The third set, Nelson got off to a flyer and we just could not pull it back. Nelson were more clinical during the pressure points and took out the 3rd set 15-25. The boys were gutted but we are all proud of their efforts. We pushed one of the best and almost nearly had them.
Year 9's played off for 13th and 14th against King's Year 10's. Our boys put on a great fight. Strong serving and accurate passing served us well throughout the game. We dropped the first set 21-25 and came back stronger in the second set. Another tight set that finished 26-28. What impressed in this game was the confidence of our young team. At the start of the year they would have been worried about the big KHS players, but this time around they backed their skills and traded with a more experienced team. This is a team to watch out for and we are all looking forward to tracking their progress. Thank you to Taine Grimsey for his time and efforts. Thank you also to our parents for their amazing support this year and last but not least to our players for the hours of training and games. 14th at a Junior South Island for a Year 9 team is an awesome result!
Played 7: Won 2- Lost 5.
14th in South Island's
Year 10's played off for 5th place against Kew from Australia. An emotional game for our boys being their last as Year 10's and on Junior net. We set a fast pace in the first set with strong serving and attack, especially from Jacob Bolwell and Adrian Branzuela. Our setters Xavier Toeke and Siosifa Pole moved well and this was aided by accurate passing from our back court Noah Mafi. The first set was ours 25-18. The second set was a tougher affair with Kew picking up their service and tipping game. We were behind for most of the set but scrambled to bring the scores closer at the back end. We started to run our middles more effectively with Mikaele Vaeau and Felix Hill using their height advantage to cause disruption. Alex Boomer also had a strong set on attack and worked well with Mikaele on the block. It was blow for blow at the end but we came through 28-26. Fifth place is an outstanding effort. The highest placed Otago team and at the doorsteps of knocking off one of the top 4 teams. We are edging closer to the top Canterbury and Nelson teams. Congratulations to our Year 10 team for all their hard work over the last two years. To Mr Steve Sharp who has put in a lot of time with these lads and to our parents for their support.
Played 7 games: Won 5- Lost 2
5th= in South Island's
Overall, this has been one of the most successful campaigns in recent years. Two teams in the top 16 and to do it at home has been no doubt been a great experience for all involved.