On the 19th & 20th of May, 5 UTS teams ventured north to Newcastle for the final State Cup tournament before State Volleyball League starts in June. We will have some photos and all the team reports up soon.
A special thank you to Deb for organising all the accommodation and the other behind the scenes work she does for us all. Also really good to see so many at the function on Saturday night (thanks to Clara and Jess Ng for organising) and great to see so many players from different teams watching and supporting one another over the weekend.
Our thoughts go out to Clara and her family for their loss.
Honours Men (match report from Morky)
In typical fashion, Saturday morning started with some sore heads from those that ventured up on Friday night.
In what can only be described as a “rigged” draw – probably by Sam “mutiny” Morrison, trying to win back the captaincy after leading the team to two previous tournament victories in the absence of captain Rob “my record is as good as yours Sam Morrison” Fleury. A depleted UTS team missing star middle come setter, Luke “wake me up before you go go” Carroll had a narrow win over a very talented ACT U23 team in which Gregor “I almost got a roof block with my first touch” Salvin played middle with distinction, showing that he truely is a world class athlete (darts?). This was followed by a not so narrow win over the NSW U19’s, in which Andrew “I’m almost old enough to be their grandfather” Lyell and Doug “that’s right I’m a setter too” Skinner double subbed in for Sucky “I need a break” Suckling and Artem “I need a vodka” Ipatyev to top the pool and have a late start on Sunday.
Sunday saw UTS taking on UNSW for a berth in the semi’s. In a very intense warm-up, Nam “I didn’t spew” Pham’s cunning plan to hit the opposing coach during hitting warm-up , didn’t eventuate and he had to sit out the rest of the game on the bench. The first set was an epic battle, more epic than any other game in history, but UTS triumphed 25-22 thanks to a questionable decision by a linesman (yes the ball did hit the antenna), but to be fair this made up for an earlier rather poor refereeing decision going against UTS. Artem “I got so drunk last night, I could have slept with a dog and not known” Ipatyev amassed an incredible 428 points for the game, breaking the all-time record by some 380 points. Jason “lemonade” Laffer, passed three pointer after three pointer, which was an amazing feat when you consider he almost OD’d on lemonade the night before. Doug “the coach is proud of me because I did what he taught me at training” Skinner, showed that he is not just a pretty face and that he does pay attention at training. In the second set, UTS romped home, playing some pretty decent volleyball to progress to the semi.
The Semi looked like being the match of the tournament, with arguably the best two teams meeting. Canberra Heat, with a large contingent of their AVL/V-League team, looked like the team to beat and proved to be too strong in the first taking it 25-19. Needing to win the second by a margin of 7 or more points, UTS showed great strength and character to motor through the set, taking it 25-13 to progress to the final against surprise package, Newcastle.
The final proved to be a little “ho-hum” as the boys played in cruise control and never looked like losing it. Highlight of the game were:
1. Atrem “I’m too tired after scoring 428 points this morning” Ipatyev only receiving one set
2. An incredible amount of tipping over the huge block of Sucky “why are they tipping over me” Suckling
3. An amazing display of back court skills by veteran Andrew “hey some of these Newcastle guys are as old as me” Lyell.
Another great effort from the boys, making it 3 tournament wins in a row. Individually, a great effort by Sam Morrison to being named tournament MVP, especially after the week he has been through. Our hearts go out to Clara and her family.
On a personal level, thanks to all the players for doing what Nam and I have been teaching/re-iterating at trainings, to Nam for his eternal passion and love for volleyball and the UTS club, and Igor and Jess for doing a fair bit of babysitting over the weekend (and some spooning – thanks Igor!).
Honours Women (match report from Anna)
The Honours girls entered the tournament missing a few players but keen to play some good volleyball in the last matches before SVL starts. The girls started well, turning the first game against NSW U/19s into a win. They backed up this game very well with a win over the home side Newcastle.
Saturday night saw the UTS Volleyball Club come together for dinner at the local Irish Pub and a few, or many drinks. After dinner, many of the UTS players, coachers and supporters headed out for some celebrations of the days efforts – what better way to bond as a team! 10am game on Sunday proved a little challenging for the girls to get out of bed after a late night for some, but we all made it and were ready to go. We were up against UNSW, playing some great defence and blocking well to go up 2-0 to put us top of our pool.
Semi- final time and we were up against the newly formed Hills Dragons team. Unfortunately, we had a pretty average start and this continued this throughout the set leaving us at 1-0. We tried to turn it around, increase the talking and aggression but it just didn’t seem to come together, just wasn’t our best game. We ended up loosing the semi 2-0, missing out on the finals so went into the bronze playoff.
We played UNSW once again, hoping we could secure the win for the 2nd time of the day. We played much better than we had in the semi-final.
We ended up 2-0, taking out 3rd place in the tournament with Hills Dragons 1st and Miracle Dreams 2nd. Although we all knew we could’ve done better and should’ve been in the final we were happy with the final result and are ready to head competitively into SVL. Back to training we go, with determination to improve and fix the areas that let us down in the tournament. Most of all we must all continue to play according to Lionel’s philosophy, “Play with pleasure”.
Division 1 Men ‘B’ Team (Report from George)
This is the first time we played together as a team under UTS, and Newcastle was our ‘training camp’ for our newly formed squad. Our team is made up of players from the Div 1 SNV Willoughby comp, led by long time UTS veteran Tony Wibowo. Our team has some very ‘experienced’ players with some ‘imports’ from Brazil, France, Romania and Russia.
We managed to go through the preliminary rounds undefeated and reached a comfortable ‘Top of the Pool’ position at the end of Day 1. On Sunday morning, we had a comfortable win against BHV Brumbies and then went through to a Semi-Final against UNSW. We won the first set against a much younger UNSW team, thanks to some perfect passing/setting and strong blocking to shutdown their attack. In the 2nd set, our passing let us down and their attacking returned to punish us with a strong lead and eventual win to tie the sets 1:1. With less than 5 minutes on the clock and some questionable delays, we didn’t get an opportunity to play the 3rd set. After a points countback, we ended up with a Draw-Loss, sending us to the Bronze Medal Final against Roadkill. Our final game saw us with a 2:0 win, to take out the Bronze Medal in Div 1. UNSW went on to beat Illawarra 2:1 and take out the Gold Medal.
Overall, we managed to get some good team play developing over the weekend and we feel confident we will have a competitive team going into SVL. Many thanks to the UTS Volleyball Club for taking us under their wings, to Deb for organizing our uniforms, hotel and including us in the social evening, Marielle for taking on the role of coach, and to Tony Wibowo for pulling our team together.
Other reports to come…