Teams ventured north for the Newcastle State cup on 25/26th May. While some players were missing due to a birthday party (how does this happen – don’t people check the volleyball calendar before planning anything?!?) the event was very well attended.
Thanks to Mark Pichler and the Newcastle team for a well run event.
Mens Honours – Black (to come)
Men Honours – White (from Rob)
For their first game, the white team played in black, except for one white who was in white. Two blacks were in black. This must have confused the opposition as the white team beat Cedars 2-0. The highlight of the match was the incredible defence played on match-point by James “I speak in acronyms, YOLO, LOL” McRae, keeping the ball alive with two great ups allowing UTS to win the point.
In the second game, the boys struggled to ever get going against the wiley veterans of Newcastle. The performance from the whites can only be described as flat – probably as flat as Gregor’s stomach. Some much needed energy was injected by Doug “I’m the best room-mate ever” Skinner and Steve “this is some Steph (said with Rob’s kiwi accent) opposition” Lee, but to no avail, with the whites going down 2-0. Some soul searching after the game left the boys with a clear picture of what was required for Sunday’s play.
An absurd 8am start on Sunday morning didn’t deter the boys too much, and victory in this first match set up a mouth-watering quarter final against the arch frienemy: the UTS Black team.
Supporters had a field day with witty puns about this white vs black, David vs Goliath, Blues vs Maroons, Li Na vs Serena Williams battle. The first set was a neck and neck tussle, with both setters distributing whites, blues & reds, in addition to As, Bs & Cs and 4s & 5s and other confusing calls. The whites had a sniff at a first set victory, but were pipped at the post by the boys in black. The second set went a similar direction, with the blacks earning a well-fought battle.
The whites returned home with an early mark, but would rather have been there to the bitter end of the tourney (preferably playing rather than doing duty, other than one setter who is also a badged ref, who reportedly may have volunteered to do either).
Women Division 1 (from Clara)
Game 1: Endeavour – We came, we 6-packed, we conquered. Unfortunately for the same poor Endeavour girl, Jess and Nat found their hitting target early in the warm up. This continued into the game with Joey 6-packing her again off her tough serve down the line. Along with Joey’s great serves, Jess also served smartly, showing our experience and skill. With great defence and serve receive from Dani, Bek was able to set some great balls to our hitters, Stefi and Nat especially excelling. Overall a good solid start to our weekend, as we did not drop our standard of play and continued to play our own solid game.
Game 2: NSW U/17’s – Another inexperienced team for us old birds to prove our knowledge and show off our edge. Even with our junior players joining our team for this round, Lou and Bryony both stepped up and played strongly. The game was fairly straight forward, with strong serves from Stefi, Jo, Clara and Nat keeping them out of most of the game. As soon as we lost the serve, it didn’t take long to get it back with consistent passing from Dani, great setting from Lou and Joey, and strong blocks and hitting through the middle from Bryony and Nat. A great finish to the day.
Game 3: Manly – We were all very keen to win this game as it would put us at the top of our pool. The team luckily got some fresh legs with our newcomer Birg who started out strongly, getting some great big blocks. Unfortunately our passing went a little south, and even when the pass was up, the hitters struggled to get kills with Manly’s great defence. We fought hard, but it was just not our game. This meant we placed second in our pool and were in for a tough game against the winner of the other pool.
Game 4: UNSW – Once again we meet our rivals UNSW. The team had a solid warm up as were very keen to knock them out of grand final contention and finally get a gold medal. The issues from the previous game were unfortunately not overcome for the first set, with UTS going down quite badly. Nevertheless we shook it off and started again, putting pressure on the now confident UNSW team. With strong serves and consistent hitting, the second set was much closer. Regardless of our efforts, we once again went down in two sets and were up for the bronze medal match.
Game 5: Baulkham Hills – After losing coach Deb, plus most of our junior players to the div 2 bronze medal match, we re-recruited coach/player Jess and assistant coach Sam. Even though we were all pretty exhausted by this stage and hadn’t played the best over the weekend, we desperately did not want to duty after our game. Luck and skill was finally with us with great serving from Birg, Clara, Stefi and Nat, keeping them out of the game. There was a slight lull in the middle of the game with Baulkho returning with some tough serves. After a quick time out, some good passing from Dani and good hits from Stefi and Joey, we closed out the first set with ease. Baulkho obviously also did not want to do duty and came back in the second set with some tough serves. After losing a few points at the start, we broke the serve and continued our own serving streak. Stefi continued to hit hard from outside, Birg and Nat hit and blocked well in the middle and with some fantastic setting from young Bek, we narrowly won the final set and thus the game. Another successful weekend away for the div 1 womens team.
Mens Division 1 White (from George)
The old boys are back again this year and Newcastle was our pre-SVL training venue. We managed to go through the preliminary rounds undefeated and faced last year’s SVL Div 1 premiers UNSW in the Semi-Final. With our little team of 8 players we faced the army of their 12-man squad, and slowly but surely we managed to control the game, put up a solid defence and take out a win from the stunned younger opposition. We entered the Gold Medal match on a high and although we took an early lead on Illawarra, we all seemed to slowly run out of gas when it mattered and were eventually beaten. Illawarra played a great game and deserved their victory, whilst we were happy to accept a Silver Medal for our efforts over the weekend. Special thanks to Deb for organising our team entry & uniforms, our accommodation and the social function on Saturday night.