On the weekend of 12/13 October a small but merry band of volleyballers made their way out to Penrith for a State Cup.
Women’s Team Report (From Deb)
With the SVL season over and only a few weekend tournaments left for the rest of the year, the UTS women were only able to field one team into the Penrith State Cup last weekend which was made up of players from all 4 UTS teams: Honours women, Cougars and Cubs, Div 1 and Div 2. Saturday saw the UTS team play 3 games, easily defeating UNSW’s Division 1 team and Endeavour but losing to Manly in the grueling afternoon heat to finish 2nd in the pool and progress to the Honours division of the competition. A tiring but fun day was had by all of us getting to know each other and understanding the rules of a new venue (in 25 years of playing volleyball, I’ve never had to deal with a “Big Arse Fan” rule before). Claire Lu and Verena Taudte really stepped up to the plate to match it with the rest of the players with some impressive serving and setting. Jess Reardon and Nardia Guillaumier made impressive returns to the middle with Haley Minigle and Irina Penkina solid on the outside. Jenny Towers was consistent and showed her experience (as always!) in the setting position.
A very early morning start on Sunday at 8am saw the team lose its first Honours round game to the UNSW Honours team 2-0. Despite the set score, the team was competitive all the way and only narrowly lost each set. The team managed some good play but struggled at times with passing the UNSW float serves.
However, some handy reinforcements (Clara Loth and Natalia Krivonogova) arrived in Penrith in time for the 11am game against Manly. We were then able to move Jess Reardon to Universal and run a quicker attack. Great setting from Verena and Jen got the middle hitters firing, resulting in a strong team performance and an easy 2-0 win. Most outstanding dive goes to Jen for an impressive backwards roll after tripping over her own foot during a rally.
Next came the SVL Div 1 gold medal rematch against Hills Dragons. Great passing from Clara and strong play from Jen and Nardia (who were rejuvenated after taking advantage of some sports massage during the break) helped the team gel together. Awesome defence from Haley and big hitting from Irina lifted the team to play some inspired volleyball. The girls showed great patience against the strong defensive Hills girls to take out the match 2-0 and progress to the Honours Gold Medal match.
The girls didn’t let it bother them that they were going into the Gold Medal match against the UNSW Honours girls as underdogs. A great defensive effort from all players highlighted by a huge dive outside the court by Claire Lu saw the team lift its intensity and put continual pressure on the UNSW girls. Nardia made some HUGE blocks against AVL middle Kelly McLeod to keep her out of the game. After taking the first set quite easily, the girls went neck and neck with the UNSW girls in the 2nd set before letting the opposition slip away in the middle of the set. However, with some “no regrets” volleyball, the UTS girls made a big comeback to take the 2nd set and match. A great weekend and result. After 7 games in 2 days, I can hardly walk but thanks for the good times – bring on Good Neighbour!