28/29th April saw the Illawarra State Cup held in Unanderra (ie. Wollongong). UTS entered 2 mens team and a women’s Div 1 team (with our Honours women not able to attend). The Honours Men & the Division 1 women came home with gold, while the men’s Div 1 were knocked out in the quarter final. Photos from the weekend will be added in soon along with team updates.
Thanks to Bob Cooper and his team for a great tournament.
Men’s Honours (By Morky)
In typical UTS fashion, the tournament started with a lack of sleep and some sore heads as well as the bare minimum in player numbers. In typical UTS fashion, Sunday morning proved to be more of the same.
Saturday saw UTS taking on Sydney Uni followed by the second ACT under 23’s. Both proved to be reasonable straight forward wins, amounting to just 70 minutes of volleyball for the day. The early finish meant more time for drinking, and drink they did!
Sunday thankfully started at 2:00pm, meaning hangovers were but a distant memory. Jason “4 ½ beers” Laffer, lived up to his name, but did manage to sober up before the first game. Doug “ we should have stayed at the UTS hotel” Skinner, decided to stay with the Baulko guys, meaning he didn’t drink copious amounts of alcohol and managed to get a good night’s sleep. Luke “I’ve had gastro for 3 days and will only have a few beers” Carroll limited himself to just 37 beers because of illness, whilst Sucky “I should have known my guys would have an 8:00am start on Sunday” Suckling, regretted the fact that he had to drive home on Saturday night and make the early trek back on Sunday morning. Michael “I only had 3 hours sleep” Jonstomp, made the startling revelation that Russians drink vodka as fast as Luke drinks beer! Sam “ I wear the same number shirt as my girlfriend” Morrison, wore the same number shirt as his girlfriend. Artem “you must drink vodka and eat salted cucumber” Ipatyev, proved that even after drinking enough vodka to be legally dead, you can still play volleyball and earn yourself the title of MVP. UTS student Martin “ich habe grosse Eier” Kaufer made a guest appearance for the team on Saturday almost killing a few of the young ACT boys and allowing the coach to move Doug into the role of middle blocker. A very broken, but amazingly awesome Morky “I can’t pass for shit anymore” Munter made an impromptu appearance in the final against Vostok (much to the delight of the crowd), after Michael suffered severe cramp. The final went the way of UTS 2:1 (31-29, 23-25, 15-7)
Congratulations to the guys on making it back to back tournament victories (both times with only 7 players)
Mens Div 1 (by Nithin)
Strong start on Saturday vs BHV Brumbies, using Alvin and Igor running through the middle. Our defensive movement on court was not up to speed and a few missed serves led to a loss. Having a 6 hour break before our next game, we decided to utilize the spa/sauna services offered by the hotel. Some quality team bonding ended with a high pitched yelp from all those who decided to jump into the icy swimming pool. Game 2 vs UNSW ( who should have entered honours division), much better performance in the areas we were lacking prior. Taking them by surprise and they had to struggle to win. A few poor ref calls gave them the lead and eventually the game. Ended the day feeling great about our improvement as a team.
Sunday started with the same enthusiasm, a few back court swings courtesy Igor who played opposite and more aggressive attacks through the middle and outside, UTS took the game through points countback. Game 2 vs UNSW started very strong, the two teams went at it head-to-head the first set, good strong attacks and defense. UNSW won the game eventually.
Overall, marked improvement in team dynamics and communication. Looking forward to State Cup 3 – Newcastle.
Division 1 Women (by Jo)
The Div 1 Girls were out to improve on their performance from Manly Cup a few weeks ago and that we did. After 2 relatively straight forward wins against a U17 ACT side and then Baulkham Hills we came up against a much stronger Sydney Uni outfit in our last game of the day on Saturday. With some great serving from Jessica Ng and some very strong power hitting from our baby of the team, Jesse Jack, we managed to beat them 2-0 and go into the last round match on Sunday undeafeated.
On Sunday we accounted for the U17 NSW side 2-0 which put us in the gold medal match against Baulkham Hills. As coach Sam was playing in his own gold medal match, step in super assistant coach, Patti Jack. After a very slow start in the first set we fought back to win the 2nd set but not without contraversy. It seems somehow our 2 middles got out of rotation and swapped positions mid set (not sure how that is possible when playing with a libero?) Anyway set point was then replayed after a very firey Haley decided she had enough and blasted her serve down the line for an ace. At one set all it was time to play the deciding set. Kat Stalmachowski, after her out of rotation debacle decided that she would finally start running her quick attacks back from the net and was unstoppable, hitting winners from everywhere. Added with some very strong outside hitting from the ever experienced Haley Minigle and we found ourselves up 11-4 in the deciding set and poised for victory. Enter the UTS mini choke. Baulkham Hills clawed their way back to 11 all in the set but the choke was not meant to be as we ran out victors 15-12.
Congratulations to all the girls for a great solid weekend in Wollongong and to Haley Minigle who received the MVP award for the final. Here’s hoping we can repeat the performance in Newcastle in a few weeks time.