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South Island Secondary Schools Volleyball Championships

Steven Sharp —

The senior blues began their tournament against Middleton Grange. They were a solid passing team, but didn’t have our fire power as our middles (Angus Henderson, Mikaele Vaeau and Connor Feist) were too much for them. We won the first game convincingly 3-0 in what was a great start to the tournament.

Game 2 of the day was against Burnside who were ranked one above us. They were a solid serving and passing team. Despite our stronger attack, our serving consistency let them off the hook and we lost in a close four setter. Strong setting from Noah Rooney wasn’t enough to upset them.

Game 3 of the day (as well as 2 duties) was against a highly ranked and well drilled Waimea College. Great passing from our outside hitters (Adrian Branzuela, Jacob Whitty and Harry Devereux) made for a close game. But again, serve consistency let us down and we lost narrowly in a four setter. Each game was showing lots of progress and competing against one of the eventual finalists was a great sign.

The boys had a good sleep in after a mad day one. They were pumped up for the game against Shirley Boys' (eventual winners). Some incredible libero play from Xavier Toeke and a fantastic blocking and hitting performance from Alexander Boomer kept us in the game, but the class of Shirley came through and we were beaten convincingly 3-0.

The final game of pool play was a big one against a tidy Marlborough Boys’, as it would decide if we were playing off for 7th or 9th on day 3. The boys really stepped up and put in a complete performance. With overwhelming attack, clinical backcourt and immense hustle, the boys blasted them to a 3-0 victory, winning the 3rd 26-24!

Day 3 and our final game saw us cross over to what turned out to be a much weaker pool. We had a revenge game against Lincoln, who the boys lost to in the same game last year. An all-round performance from the boys was a pleasure to watch. Kilifi Uele got his chance (and stepped up) on the outside and Siosifa Pole was devastating to defend against on the D position, smashing Lincoln in straight sets.

The development from the boys each game was really pleasing from a coaches perspective. We rotated players fairly evenly and boys got opportunities in multiple positions. The depth of the team was evident and we look forward to Otago champs on the weekend and Nationals at the end of the month. Angus Henderson was the stand out performer, with multiple opposing coaches raving about his play. Alex Boomer was incredible, despite only just getting back from injury and lastly the captain Noah Rooney who set brilliantly and lead the team well all tournament.

Well done boys.