The Illawarra State Cup was held on May 4th & 5th. 5 UTS teams made the short drive south for the competition.
Thanks go to Bob Cooper and his team for a well run tournament and to Michelle and her helpers from State Volleyball for their work in getting the draw ready following some late changes.
Men’s Honours Black:
In what can only be described as the greatest volleyball comeback in history, coach Morky can out of retirement, to show the volleyball world what they had been missing and the “art” of playing libero. Stu “she’s cute, can you hook me up” Maycock played amazing all weekend. Marc “she is cute, I’ll get my brother to be your wingman” Carroll set with far greater consistency than 2 weeks earlier. Sam “Yay! I get to play outside hitter – how do I do that again?” Morrison played at outside for a game and showed why he is such a good Universal. Nick “I don’t need to jump” Barry was rumoured to have almost left the ground on several occasions, but in depth video analysis will be required to verify this. Artem “my boys look for mouse in house, but don’t see elephant” Ipatyev (..anyone????) played with great consistency, especially when you consider he drank enough vodka to be legally dead twice over. D- “Nam why are you spooning me at 3:00 in the morning and eating muffins at the same time” Bo made his long awaited comeback to competition volleyball and was the shortest of the middles at 197 cm. Nigel “bloodnut” Flintoff made some great blocks and showed why middles need to be libero’d off. Ben “I was the first peron to make the gold medal match” Lalic, played the odd game when not clashing with State duties, and was given the opportunity to play libero for a set, when the starting libero decided to deliberately play bad, in order to give him a go. Nick “I don’t look like my sister” Kukic who was injured, played the role of the coach, whist the coach played the role of the libero, whilst the libero played the role of a guest at a wedding. He was give some great pointers on how to coach, including: how to pace up and down the side line, how to look to his bench when someone made an error, how to never look happy no matter how well the team was going and the art of throwing a clip-board, or kicking a box of paddles if things weren’t going right.
With a towering team (shortest player being 193 cm) UTS Black dominated proceedings with its massive blocking, high hitting and non-existent tip cover. The team remained undefeated up until the gold medal game, where they were yet again pipped at the post by Canberra Heat. The Heat defence was the standout difference between the two teams.
Men’s Honours White:
In what can only be described as the worst draw in the history of the game, the UTS Honours White team began proceedings on Saturday at 9:00 am and finished at 8:00 pm. In games that occasionally resembled volleyball, point 17 of Game 4 against Sydney Uni was the highlight of the tournament. A complex plan was hatch, Sucky called the play. An “A”, with a metre ball over the top, with a pipe over the top of that, with a slightly higher pipe over the top of that. The crowd was hushed, the fans had all piled into the stadium to witness this one glorious moment. Anthony Rowda went back to serve. An eerie silence fell over the stadium. All games paused to watch this one momentous point. The whistle blew, the ball was tossed, the connection from the server was sweet. The UTS players manoeuvred into position to execute what was surely going to go down in history as the greatest single moment the game had experienced. The ball was on its way. You could sense the tension in the air that this was going to be incredible. As the serve crashed its way into the middle of the net, there was an eruption of noise from all around the stadium. Point 17, game 4 belonged to UTS! Volleyball history had been made.
Some additional highlights from the weekend:
– Doug “ who can I blame for having a spew in my room” Skinner, decided to share a lot of his regurgitated salad with his team mate Rob “I’m the captain, no-one spews on me!” Fleury.
– Kiel “I can sense that everyone is going to spew, so it is safer to stay with my girlfriend and the Sydney Uni guys” Briggs, took his drinking a little less seriously than many of the UTS guys, whereas James “Hey guys, do you all want to get drunk and give me a shit haircut” Mcrae, decided it would be good having a bunch of drunk people with scissors attacking his hair.
– Alex “I still have a better accent that you Cillian” Gibbons again had a consistent weekend, as did Sucky “is he still playing” Suckling – who’s lack of alcohol was a standout on Sunday morning.
– Jason “Artem, you almost broke my nose!” Laffer, added some much needed passing stability to the line-up, when not playing for State.
– Steve “I got some” Lee, mysteriously did not make it back to his room on Saturday night, but was spotted leaving another room in the wee hours of the morning.
– Gregor “I’ve been trying to get some” Salvin, was spotted alone in the foetal position in his bed.
Men’s Division 1: From Artem
Illiwarra games were quiet successful for UTS teams except div 1 boys. I was not surprised a level of opposite teams. We lost three games and had one draw. We played very bad. We really need to understand that our wins and losts depend on amount of unforced mistakes. We did 15 mistakes in each set. The most common mistake was in pass. Strategies used against us were simple: serve in libero. Players from social team did free balls, cut shots, and tips. Nobody could not jump in their team. Obviously we could smash this team with a score 25:10. But our “ocean team” could not even take a good pass from these easy balls. it looks like we have four fish in our team. The first fish is Lee. all he had to do was pass each ball in three meters line with six meters height to give enough time to setter. Our setter still not to fast to set low pass. it means the job was failed. Steve is a very quiet fish. Staying next to Lee he did not say anything. That is why social team people served easy serves between these players and won 5 or even 10 points. Igor is a hard worker. Ever time trying fix bad pass he did not say nothing to passers. that is why people though that our pass is ok. But we missed again, again and again… Igor was quiet and we all were losing game by game staying quiet and independent from each other.
P.S. We are doing good job on our straining sessions. We lose our concentration and COMMUNICATION during games. When we will get it, we will become a good team who can win!
Women’s Division 1: From Clara
Game 1: V’s ACT U/19’s
After an extremely early start with an 8am game, it took a little bit of time for the morning coffee’s to kick in. The team had a shaky start, giving the junior state team a 9-1 head start, but we got the UTS choke out early and came back to win the set with some hard serves and clever hitting.
Ending the previous set on a high note, we came into the second set with confidence and an eagerness to win. Unfortunately we struggled to get a rhythm going, but kept up a strong fight until the buzzer rang for time, leaving us with a 1-1 draw. Not a bad result for our first game!
Game 2: V’s NSW U/17’s
The second game was against another junior team, which allowed UTS to show off their advantage of experience against the youngsters. The team performed strongly over all aspects of the game with some great serving by Steph and Joey, and great defence by Dani and Claire Lu. All the substitutes came on strong and did not buckle under pressure, especially Evi in libero and Ornella as second setter.
Due to some great sets from Joey and Ornella, our hitters were able to pound some great winners, with some consistent hitting from Maddie and Claire Walker. Our middles also performed well with some great blocking from Cat, Milica and Nat.
To top off our solid start to the weekend (finishing at the top of our pool by approximately 2 points), we had to decide who dive of the day was going to be awarded to. It was a close vote between Claire W and Milica, with Claire narrowly taking out the prize. A fantastic start for the team with everyone performing in the positions they were placed in!
Semi final: V’s ACT U/17’s
After a big night out for some a.k.a Claire Walker and Cat Stalmachowski, it was quite fortunate that we had a later start to the day. As we were playing ANOTHER junior team, I doubt they had the same ‘regurgitation and lack of sleep’ issues as some of our members experienced. Regardless, both teams had a solid warm up so we knew we were in for a tough semi final. Captain Clara finally won the toss and coach Deb picked out their consistent players and defensive weaknesses early to came up with a solid game plan.
The first set was really close, with UTS playing some extremely smart volleyball. Hits down the line were working really well from both the opposites and outsides, due to some great sets from Joey. Consistent passes from back court allowed for some great runs and hits from the middles, keeping the 17’s guessing. Our serves were tough, but unfortunately quite a few were hit out the back of the court. Regardless, we won the set and had components of the game to improve on to be successful in the second set.
Following the typical pattern for the div 1 team, we played amazing volleyball in the first set, but made a few too many errors in the second. Unfortunately our service errors continued, which gave the talented junior team an edge that we could not get back. Nevertheless, we fought hard until the end of the set, eventually ending with the 17’s prevailing, due to some great hits and hard serves.
After winning the toss again, Clara hesitantly chose to serve, knowing that the 17’s served well in the last set. Turned out to be a wise decision as Joey gave us a 4/5 point lead due to some hard serves! We played our own game and stayed consistent through the whole set, not allowing the youngsters to catch back up to us. There was a great team effort over all, once again with the substitutes putting on a solid performance. Even though the play was not always clean, we still had some great dives by Evi and Steph and some questionable hits and attack digs from Clara, which eventually led to our defeat of this solid young team. A close semi final that put us in the gold medal match against UNSW.
Grand final: V’s UNSW
After a very long weekend of volleyball and/or partying, we were finally at our final match for the weekend. For the second time this year, we once again met the strong UNSW team in the gold medal match to decide the winner for the weekend. Even though some of us were near exhaustion, we pushed through and had a blinder of a first set, smashing them 25-11. Steph performed extremely well on the court during this set, most likely due to her ‘extra-curricular’ activities off the court. There was solid hitting from all of our hitters and passers and great serving, allowing for great setting from Joey and an overall great team effort.
Coach Deb changed the line up slightly in the second set, but unfortunately UNSW picked up their defence and began serving a lot harder and smarter. There were still some great up’s from Evi in back court, some solid hitting from Nat, Cat and Claire, and some good blocking from Milica and Clara. Unfortunately we could not keep the momentum going from the win and lost the second set almost as convincingly as we won the first.
Final set of the day and Clara won the toss which she elected to serve again, knowing Joey would put pressure on UNSW with her smart serves. The set started out very similar to the 3rd set against the 17’s, giving us a 4 or so point lead. UNSW played some smart volleyball, the crossover score giving us only a 2 point lead. By this stage, we were all quite exhausted and could not find the gaps in their defence and UNSW ended up winning the final set 15-12, with last few points being won on some well placed tips from their setter.
Overall a fantastic weekend of volleyball with everyone performing well in their on and off court positions.