Backing Up – UTS Honours Men are SVL Champions again in 2013

September 30, 2013

The UTS Men’s Honours Black team had the perfect 12 & 0 season.  Anything from coach Morky is a good read as well.

Artem getting ready for another kill

Artem getting ready for another kill

UTS Men’s Honours SVL 2013 Season in a Nutshell (from Morky)

With a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 games leading into finals, there were murmurs’ of the “UTS Choke” making an appearance before the season end.

The Semi final against Baulko saw 2 veterans and a young gun missing from the line-up. Andrew “always in the right spot” Lyell was forced into a family vacation to Disneyland, meaning he would miss volleyball trainings and games for the first time in 63 years. Another not to take the court was veteran middle Dave “D-Bo (like J-LO but better) Boettiger. After 3 minutes of warm-up with the awesome hitting power of coach Morky “I’ve made almost as many comebacks as John Farnham” Munter, D-Bo’s arms were so sore, he had to sit out the rest of the season. Also missing was Ben “it’s alright guys, next one” Lalic, who decided his brother’s wedding was more important that a volleyball game.

All of this led to Nik “I can’t wait to share a room with Kiel next year” Kukic being promoted to starting outside; Morky “I think my body can hold out long enough to finish this set” Munter making a return to the libero position; Sam “I really am a middle” Morrison, slotting back into middle; Artem “you must SIT!! PREPARE!!” Ipatyev moving to universal; Stu, Marc and Nigel playing their “normal” positions, as did Darren, who manned the bench as only he can! The “Flamingo” took on the role as coach, but unfortunately no-one could understand him.

The Baulko tactic of serving every ball and hitting every ball at the new, younger, more handsome, more intelligent, more talented (should I go on??) libero backfired, as he passed nails. “Is passing nails a good thing?” queried Nigel. “I actually though he played well!”

Each set was close to about 15, at which point the boys put their foot on the gas and romped home, keeping Baulko to 20 or less each set to come away with a 3:0 victory.

Highlights were Darren “I’m a middle and I CAN serve in” Hojel dominating from the service line, where Nigel “I’m a middle and I CAN’T serve” Flintoff did not.

Grand Final day saw UTS Black up against a very formidable opponent in UNSW who had disposed of Cedars 3:1 in their semi. This was a re-match of last years’ final, but UTS felt confident after having already beaten them twice during the regular season as well as having beating them in last years’ final. The training session leading up to the final had UTS preparing tactics to prevent UNSW playing to their strengths – which ultimately paid off.

Nigel at the net

Nigel at the net

The first set saw UTS play clinical volleyball and execute their game plan extremely effectively. Blocking and defence were great, setting options spot on and hitting, precise and consistent. The first set went to UTS 25-16, leaving USNW shell-shocked, but we knew they would come out fighting in the second.

The second set didn’t start to plan, with UNSW quickly building a good lead. The UTS blockers lost form and chased ball, the defence struggled to adjust to the erratic blocking. On top of this, some unorthodox hitting and plays saw UTS on the back foot. At 11-17 down, it looked as though UNSW would take the set. A time out ensued and the guys came back out onto court much more focussed and ready to play in the same vane as in the first set. Within minutes the scoreline changed dramatically. Some crazy defence, great blocking and power hitting saw UTS get on level pegging at 18-18. From here on, both teams sided out point for point, but ultimately UTS came out on top with a 29-27 victory.

The change of ends had the boys feeling pretty confident that they had repelled the best that UNSW had to offer. That confidence showed in the third set as UTS quickly build a substantial lead that would not be given up. Steve Neill had a blinder for UNSW, but it was not enough to get them over the line, UTS taking the third 25-20 to win the game 3:0. It was a dominant display by the UTS guys to win both the semi and the final 3:0, but it took a lot of hard work from all involved throughout the whole season.

A few highlights of the game include:

Nigel “I’m an Effing big boy and I’m going to roof the shit out of you!” Flintoff having a blinder (that’s a good thing Nigel) and amassing more blocks in the one game than all of the other games in the whole season combined.

Sam “I’m not as big as you Nigel, but I’m still going to roof the shit out everyone!” Morrison, unfortunately not being able to match it with Nigel, finishing the game with only 30 solo roof blocks. Sam also earned “dig of the day” although I am not sure he even saw the ball – I think this was one of two balls that Steve Neill didn’t hit for winner all day.

Artem “I look possessed and I am going to eat your children!” Ipatyev amassing something like 20 kills from 28 swings (with only 2 errors) – accrediting most of his success to his new shoes.

Marc “Mum and Dad are here to watch me win, not you Luke” Carroll setting great options all day, giving his twin brother on the other side of the net the run-around.

Stu “aren’t all-rounders cricket players?” Maycock playing a good captains knock and steadying the ship when needed.

Ben “I’ve never been blocked by Victoria” Lalic played his usual game, frustrating the crap out of the opposition by hitting off, through, around and into their blocks for winner after winner.

Nik “I’ve won my first honours gold medal at age 17” Kukic making a late appearance onto court, only to be denied in his only swing by the UNSW block (or was it all net?)

Darren “ I think Alberto hates me!” Hojel once again doing a stellar job of warming the bench. He did however play the Div 1 final earlier in the day and considering how his ankle looked only a few days earlier, it was a miracle he was playing at all.

The new libero had a reasonable game (passing at 3:0 in first set, 2.4 in the second and something else in the third) but was quoted after the game to have said “thanks Christ we won that in 3, I’ve got about 2 more minutes left in me before I keel over and die!” Morky has also claimed “fake out of the day” by tell his blockers not to block Steve Neill (a dangerous tactic) as he was back court, knowing full well that John would set him. He spanked crap out of the ball – unfortunately for him into the tape. Both Morky and Ben claimed to have it covered in any case….NOT!

Alberto “I am the ………FLAMINGO” gave valuable insight into the game between sets and at timeouts. Unfortunately it was all in Italian, so no-one understood any of it, with the exception of one word: “Motherf…..r”

It has been a great pleasure to coach the group this year (and have Alberto as my assistant) and to go through the season undefeated, as well as take out the semi and grand final in 3 sets. This is a testament to the hard work put in by all to continue to improve and push themselves. This is also the first time the UTS men have won back to back premierships.

Congratulations to Stuart Maycock (best all-rounder), Marc Carroll (best setter) and Artem Ipatyev (best outside hitter) for making the all-star 7



A Review of the Women’s Honours Season

September 27, 2013

Not everyone can go through a season undefeated.  Some teams are at different stages where they are rebuilding, bring in younger players, and trying to set themselves up for the future.

OK. You pass it.

OK. You pass it.

UTS Womens Honours Overview (from Nam)

With many new young and enthusiastic players, 2013 was going to be a year of rebuilding for the Women’s Honours Team.

After winning the championship in 2010 and 2011, 2012 was a disappointing season not qualifying for the finals. A fresh squad was selected for 2013 with the majority of players only 18-20 years old. The team was lead by 3 veteran players in Captain Wendy Edwards, Nat Frostick and Bruna Polegato.

The team finish third on the ladder beating Sydney Uni, UNSW and Dragons in the double round robin. Manly and the Cedars proved to be too good with their experience and skill.

Though it was a good game, unfortunately Manly were once again too strong in the semi finals. A disappointing bronze medal playoff against the Dragons resulted in the UTS team settling for fourth place in the end.

Though the final game was not great, the players have done well this year with so much improvement. Hopefully the progress will continue over the next few years and with a little more experience I am confident this will be a great team in the future.

Well done girls, be proud of what you have achieved this year, learn from your experiences and I look forward to many more seasons with you all.

Close! Div 1 Girls Take SVL Silver

September 27, 2013

Our Division 1 girls team – who we know lots about because they write lots of match reports 🙂  – made it into the Gold Medal match and faced the daunting prospect of an undefeated UNSW team.

First Set to UTS

First Set to UTS

Sunday 22nd Vs UNSW (from Clara)

After a very early start, coach Deb had us all there with plenty of time for a team chat before the game and a nice long warm up. Deb set up her bench on the good side of the net, but UNSW did not see this and started warming up, ruining her plan. On the plus side, Clara lost the toss and chose to swap sides anyway! With quite a young team, a number of the girls were nervous to start the game and therefore the first few points were not the greatest in terms of passing, but the middles did a good job at closing out over passes and blocking. The whole set was point for point but luckily UNSW was also nervous and we managed to narrowly close out the first set.

The second set found our passing to slowly improve, therefore making it easier for the setters Jo and Missy to find their rhythm also. Unfortunately UNSW had a solid block which was making it tough for our hitters to find the gaps. With less errors from the strong UNSW side and many tools off our block, they closed out the second set.

By the third set our defense and passing were meeting the demands of the UNSW serve with our libero Monica and passing sub Gemma, but again we were struggling to get the straight kills. On the plus side, we were down 5 or so points numerous times and would fight back hard with tough servers and well placed hits from Nat nd Gabes and tips from Clara and Jo, which proved to be more effective. Unfortunately the setters were still struggling to connect with the middles and get them into the game, but we were running some nice 2’s behind to opposite Claire Walker. After another close set, we managed to stay on top.

4th/choke set. We started out quite evenly matched but then struggled to get a side out on a particular rotation, therefore giving them another 4-5 point lead. We eventually got the serve back and caught back up to within 2 points of their score, but then did not side out again for the rest of the set. UNSW’s block/defense was just too good or the team had just decided they really like playing and wanted to reserve their energy for another set. Either way, we were going to the 5th set.

Again captain Clara was unlucky with the toss but managed to get the good starting side. We unfortunately had a rough patch early on in the set but managed to bounce back once again. UNSW had reached 8 points first but we were only a few points behind and were eager to win. With some great team work including some awesome defense and serve receive, we managed to pull ahead to 12-9. Unfortunately the UNSW coach called a time out at the right time, allowing them to re-gain the serve and overtake us. We then had a big hit from Gabes, bringing it back to 13-14, but they managed to close out the game with a cheeky tip that we just could not return.

Overall a great game from us and an even better season. UNSW are a very strong team and had not lost a game all season, so we did quite well to make it so close. Until next year UNSW……

And with their trophy mugs

And with their trophy mugs

11 and 0 – The Div2 Ladies SVL campaign

September 24, 2013

A winning club championship performance is based on lots of teams at lots of levels doing well.  Case in point…the UTS Women’s Division 2 team. Great work on your SVL season ladies!

Division 2 Champions!

Division 2 Champions!

Women’s Division 2 Gold Medal Match Report – 22.09.2013 (from Dani)

Well, here we were. Gold Medal day!!! Coming into this day we were undefeated for Division 2. However, it didn’t help that by our match time at 2pm, no UTS team had yet won gold for the day – albeit a lot of silvers. Thankfully coach Deb didn’t hold a team meeting before the match and ask “Is anyone nervous”, like she did for the semi and make Gaby nervous all match! But Gaby wouldn’t be nervous this week – she was one year older and more mature to handle the nerves!

As usual, we were late starting. But we got to see a good gold medal match in Honours while waiting and psyching ourselves up.

Then it came our time to shine against SNV. Warm up went well. Game started. And before you could blink an eye, we were 4-0 down!! Err……we were undefeated girls…..and UTS don’t choke until the last lot of points….not in the first five minutes! But Steph Reeves showed her mental resilience. Give her the ball to serve at 4-0 down and she becomes obsessed to get us back into the game. Serve after serve Steph single-handedly got us back into the game. And then we were 8-4 ahead. But Steph didn’t stop there. Now she was back court she became obsessed with passing and gave some great passes to set the spikers up. Milica wanted to show her dominance in front court doing some good blocking. UTS and SNV were neck and neck most of the way, however, that little four point lead kept us in front most of the match. Just when it felt like we could win this set by a few points, our gun universal Claire decided to lose her footing and twinge her ankle. Err…..Deb…..sub please. Never mind, we had a full bench and Verena came on to shine. Claire’s ankle injury didn’t deter us and we won the first set 25-21. Phew……one down….two to go….

Set two started and again it was neck and neck in points. We’d have a run of points, then SNV would have a run of points. Just when we thought we’d got our rhythm, we turn around and there is Steph hobbling. Err….Deb….sub please. Steph decided she wanted more sympathy than Claire (even though none of us actually saw what Steph did to herself) and decided to dramatise her injury more than Claire by calling for a chair and ice and lying down for the rest of the match with her knee elevated and ice on it. Err…Steph….you were our gun server in the first set…..what were we going to do now????

Never mind, thinks Claire, I’m not playing this “my injury is worse than your injury” game….I’m coming back on court. And come back on court Claire did, doing the ‘dive of the day’ from Position 1 to pass a ball. Set two had some good team work. Sophie was brilliant in her hitting and had SNV quivering in their shoes. Verena was a work horse with her passing. Leonne was tireless in the middle with her blocking. Lou was all over the court doing perfect sets. Her sets were so good, it had me looking around the audience thinking Fred was watching. Alas….Freddie was a no show. But Lou must have been trying to impress someone in the crowd….she actually did a block this set.

There were a couple of time outs this set. Coach Deb drilled into us in the time outs about communication and that communication doesn’t consist of just calling for the ball, but also ‘listening’ to the calls from your team mates. It seems the birthday girl, Gaby, only heard the first part of Deb’s inspirational words – “call for the ball”. So the ball comes to Position 5 where Gaby is. No problem, thinks Gaby, I’ve got this one. “Mine, Mine, Mine” she says. “Out, out, out” the rest of us say. But Gaby was so focussed on trying to do the perfect set pass into the net that she was oblivious to her team mates calls and to the fact that she was standing on the side line and the ball was at her head height and going out. One of these days, I’m going to lose my voice screaming the calls so much for this team.

But, nevertheless, onward UTS went and we won the second set 25-22.

Danger….danger….UTS are reknown for choking. I went into the third set thinking, in the back of my mind, that we wouldn’t win this set and it would go to a fourth set. My influence on the team this year must have had an impact, cause Lou quietly told me she thought the same thing. Lou probably thought that because she wanted to play more volleyball and spend more time on the court – I certainly didn’t.

Third set starts….again neck and neck in the points. But this set was Milica’s turn to shine with some great blocking. Then we had a point stuff up. The duty team obviously wanted to stay longer and duped us of some points. I swear we were 9-7 up. After a short break, where the first ref had to instruct the second ref on how to correctly score, the scores were judged to be at 7-7. Lou started chanting “Bring back Fred”, but alas, UTS are stronger than that, and we soldiered on from 7-7.

Milica went back to serve, still infuriated by our points stuff up, and served with a mission to get us ahead again. Then it came Claudia’s time to serve again. Don’t worry Claudia, your last two serves have gone out, and Deb has continually focussed on us at training to get the next serve in. I’ve got complete faith in you Claudia, just do what we’ve been taught all year at training. A good ball toss goes up, arm goes back, and…….no Claudia, your aim isn’t to have the ball land within a metre of hitting the back wall on the full!

We are slightly ahead…..c’mon girls…..there’s only about six points left in this….we can do this! In reality, at the back of my mind, I’m thinking “this is when UTS normally choke and do stupid stuff, wow, this new breed of up and coming UTS volleyballers doesn’t seem to have that mentality and are powering towards a win”. Alas….it was not to be.

Gaby, who needs to go to a sports meditation session, had the nerves get the better of her and decided that she preferred the bench and didn’t have the nerves to go back on court.

Gaby: Deb, I can’t go back on.

Deb: Why not?

Gaby: I just can’t. I’m playing crap, I just can’t.

Err….way to psych yourself out Gaby.

Time out gets called. Coach Deb is pumping us up. A couple of points and we have the championship – nothing hits the ground. We’re pumped. We run back on court. Gaby is also pumped. So pumped that she misses the bench when she goes to sit back down, and subsequently falls off the bench.

Sophie decides the ball is all hers. She smacks some cross court spikes. We’re going to finish this match on a high. Claudia comes to front court and remains on. But Claudia is mentally strong and spike after spike were going in deep court to SNV and causing them all sorts of problems.

Hang on, thinks Lou. I want to finish on a high too, she thinks. I’ve run around all year trying to fix up your stuffed up passes, for what? I never get to smack the ball and take all the glory for winning a point. I’m going to show that I’m just as good as Leonne and Milica. Her eyes light up….the ball is coming over the net from SNV….here it is….Lou’s turn to go down in history as one of the best setters to spike and block a volleyball. Up she goes…..err…..I don’t even have the words to describe what happened next. Needless to say….stick to setting Lou.

Our workhorse, Bryony, has been consistent all year, quietly going about her business all year to contribute to the team. It would only be fitting that one of our most consistent players, Bryony, serve for championship point. I’m on the bench and can feel Gaby’s nerves for her. Don’t worry….it’s Bryony…..she above nerves. We all start chanting our customary chant “shots, shots”. Knowing full well that Bryony hasn’t had shots all year and will no doubt be ignoring our chants and the fact it is championship point and serve in. Well Bryony….the ball nearly went in…..on the vacant court next to us!! It wasn’t even close to going in on our court! Bryony….did you not think this team had enough alcohol to drink after everyone else’s shots throughout the year?!?!

Well…it is now 21(SNV) – 24 (UTS) and SNV are serving. The cameras are rolling (well Jo Kelly’s camera anyway). This is it, one good pass and someone can shine and win the championship for us. We were all pumped for one last point. Bryony didn’t have to serve, Lou knew not to be a hero and spike the ball. SNV serve…..and the serve goes out!

WE WON!!! WE WON!!!! WE WON!!! WE WON!!!! WE WON!!!!

Rapturous celebrations occur on court. We did it!!!! We remained undefeated all year and WON GOLD!!!!!

Even Steph manages to hobble up and celebrate with us. Even though some of us left to celebrate Gaby’s 19th birthday, we all had the customary photo with our winning beer mugs. Some of us kicked on into the night at the Clock Hotel to reminisce on a great year. While some of us became an ambulance and were sending out SOS messages at 10pm asking for crutches – get better soon Steph!

Thanks for a great year full of absolute laughter. I’ve never known a team to win a point while still pissing themselves laughing from the previous point. There has been some great improvements and highlights during the year – Milica’s blocking, Lou’s jump sets, Claire’s captainancy, Claudia’s eagerness to learn new ways, Leonne’s blocking. You all individually came together to gel well as a team and were always there supporting each other – even if it was to ridicule each other like I did. Thanks heaps to Deb and Jess for your coaching and enthusiasm.

What more can you ask for than to remain undefeated all SVL!!

Week 7 – SVL 2013

August 15, 2013

11th August  was week 7 of SVL 2013 and a key week for MH with the end of round robin games and the split into top & bottom 4.   There was also the long awaited Black vs White game…

There were plenty of other interesting games as well though…

(For the record the Men’s Honours Black team won the game against the White team 3:0)


Womens Division 1 Update (from Claire)
Sunday the 11th was quite a ‘thrilling’ day for our Division one UTS girls. With Illawara only bringing 5 players to the court after the first whistle blew gave us the option to forfeit. Only seconds later there sixth player came to the court and it the team decided to go ahead with the game and win it the proper way!
The first set the team started strong…which is different as it usually takes a while. Although our next two sets weren’t as strong and our passing/communication efforts as a whole dropped, both setters really made the effort to get to every ball and their sets were awesome! Serving was also fairly positive, especially Jo not even giving Illawara a chance to get the ball back over the net over for about 6/7 points. Our team ended up winning 3-0 quite convincingly. It was quite a cruisey game but everyone was happy that we beat them fair and square!


Women’s Honours Half of SVL 2013 Update

August 5, 2013

The Women’s Honours have had a promising start to the season, winning 3 of 5 in the first round robin. The Cedars and Manly proved to be unsuccessful challenges however in the words of coach Nam, “Dragons slayed, lions tamed and whales were culled”, we beat Hills, Sydney Uni and UNSW. Beginning the second round robin, we were again unsuccessful in beating the Sydney Cedars which was frustrating in considering our high intensity training sessions. Losing 3-0, it was not our best game. Bringing the internationals in, Summer has come all the way from America to join the team and has been a great addition! Whilst poor Lily is out for a couple of weeks due to injury. Despite some setbacks we will continue to work on our game, bringing our skills from training into game play. We are continuing to push the ball to the net to run quick attacks which has been a great improvement. However being such a tight team off court, it is a comparatively quiet game so we must work on our talk and motivation on court as well as a desire to win!

Sydney Volleyball League 2013 – Week 2

June 24, 2013

Week 2 of SVL was held on 23 June – a cold and rainy day outside…but inside the Homebush Sports Halls, the volleyball warmed our hearts.

Div 1 White in Action

Div 1 White in Action

Mens Honours White (from Rob)
In Game 2, the whites came up against the defensive specialists Eagles. As an intimidatory move, the Eagles brought out their coach – Korean volleyball legend “Mr Cho” – to start the game. After banging some meter balls in warm up, Mr Cho came out in the first set all guns blazing. Unfortunately for him though, most guns were blazing directly into the big blocks of Alex, James, Kiel and controversial new recruit, Nathan “Joe’s favourite” Lovett. Overall, the form of the whites was patchy, at times struggling to put the ball away against the gritty defence of the Eagles. Mix that with enough service errors to keep a statistician occupied for hours and the whites found themselves dropping a set. This caused coach Morky to threaten to strangle each of his players if they didn’t start playing better, before kicking a bucket full of substitution paddles and storming out of the gym, never to return… Either that, or he left for no apparent reason and was replaced in the coaches corner by a bald flamingo… Whichever, the white team came away with a 3-1 win.

Womens Div1 (from Gabes) – UTS div 1 black win again Sydney North in 4 sets!!
After a 9am duty in the freezing cold UTS hit the court to take on Sydney North. It was a slow start by both teams (and even the scorer) as after the first 6 points the score sheet was completely messed up. The beginning of the set was point for point however we managed to break the lead. Sydney North caught up but with some strong and consistent hitting from Steffi, we ended up finishing off the set.
The second set was won by Sydney North. At one point during the set we had the lead however an injury timeout was called and we managed to find ourselves trying to fight back, which was too late in the end.
Going into the 3rd set we needed to make sure that we stayed warm and that our bench were ready to play. With way to many missed serves (from both teams) we managed to play some good defence and get our middles involved. Our captain Clara played very consistently both in back and front court contributing to us taking out the set.
The 4th and final set saw us down after a good run of serves by Sydney North. Deb called a time out to put the server off and from then on we managed to not only fight back but win the set convincingly. Any defensive touch on the ball we managed to turn into kills!
Overall it was a great game however I definitely believe that we could have won in 3 sets if Claire Walker was not hungover, actually made it to the game and didn’t use the excuse that ‘her parents were at church so they could give her a lift’.

Womens Div 2 (from Byony)
The Div.2 girls were on fire on the weekend! Even with an injured libero, they managed to beat the Eagles in 3 sets! The team worked like a well oiled machine and encouraged each other after every point. Swapping setters, with new setter Verena, was a good option for some more practice and created some great points for the game! Coach, Facebook Queen; Deb with the assistance of Jess, gave great pointers during the game which motivated all players to get every ball and try different things in the game to throw the over team, to keep them playing our game. Coaches in the second and third sets to focus on the setters getting it to the middles more often so use those sting hitters which benefited the team. Claire managed to stay out of the splits, there were no more further injuries, Gaby didn’t say something stupid and Claudia spoke mainly english, you could say it was a great game for all involved!

Mens Div 1 White (from George)
UTS Div 1 Men White v Eagles 1
With both of our 2 setters Michael and Aaron out with similar shoulder injuries, we had Nam Pham stand-in as guest setter again. Lucas Giminez returned from his business trip to re-join our team and was a welcome addition, providing some real fire-power at the net. Luca (our Italian Import) again was ruthless as our key middle and dominant throughout the game. Andy played another solid game from outside, whilst Willis showed us how versatile he can be as Universal and was able to put away a lot of balls from position 2, and/or act as setter when needed. Tony played a great game as libero and delivered some solid passing again. Special thanks to Aaron who although injured, still joined the team as sideline coach and offered some great advice to the team. Another good victory, and a great start to SVL so far for the team.
Result: UTS Div 1 Men White defeated Eagles 1, Set Scores: 25:18, 25:11, 21:25, 25:13.