23 Feb Clean sweep for volleyballers at regional qualifier

The Nayland A girls are continuing their winning streak after beating Waimea convincingly in the final at the first of the Tasman Championship qualifiers last weekend.

The team, led by captain Sophie Young and coach Brendan Crichton, was in top form as it conceded only one set to win 3-1. 

For Nayland College Director of Sport Dayna Whiting, the win held extra significance, albeit with a bittersweet edge. She was the former coach of the Waimea team and has seen them develop from Year 9. As such, she understood only too well just how sharp Nayland had to be to net their win.

She singled out Nayland’s strong defensive game and their ability to win the big rallies as keys to their success on the day. She said that the game had not only her but the rest of the audience of the edge of their seats. “You could hear the crowd going ‘wow!’” she said.

Earlier opponents were also dispatched promptly with 3-0 wins over both Nelson Girls and Marlborough Girls.

The win comes on the heels of the stunning success the team enjoyed at the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup, held in Melbourne in December, where they won gold in the 16 and Under 1st Division.

As well as a heavy training schedule of three times a week plus games, the team is busy with more competitions in preparation for Nationals in Palmerston North next month. This weekend they are in Christchurch competing in the South Island Championship where they are seeded 2nd after Riccarton High School. This puts them at the top of Pool B.

The boys team and girls B also competed at the regional championship and both made pleasing progress. While the boys lost to a strong Nelson College team, they were the only ones to take a set off them in the 1-3 game. Their overall result put them at third out of six teams.

By the second to last game, their improvement was clearly visible, according to coach Dayna Whiting. “As time goes on, we could really really be pushing those top teams,” she said.

The girls B team are a young development team, with three of the players still in Year 10. They had some close games which is a great result considering that, for the majority of the players, it was their first time playing five set games.

Though they were placed at the bottom of the rankings table at number 11, this did not mean they lost all their games. In fact, they won two of them which, according to Miss Whiting, is indicative of their potential.

By Sera King – Media and Publicity