06 Dec Volleyballers bring home third placing
Junior volleyball teams slugged it out on court for three days at the South Island Secondary Schools Volleyball Tournament held at Saxton Stadium on 22-24 November. Nayland College was ably represented by five teams: the junior boys, the girls’ 9A and 9B, and year 10 girls’ A and B. The schedule was intense with teams playing up to three games a day.
Teams traveled to the event from all over the South Island. The 10A girls’ team (pictured above) performed very well, placing 3rd equal with Waimea College. Though this was the highest a Nayland College team has ever achieved, 10A member Madeleine Marshall believed they still had even more to give. She thought they “could have played better”, perhaps even going on to win the tournament.
There were pleasing results for some of the other teams too. Girls’ 9A placed 5th, girls’ 10B placed 8th and girls’ 9B placed 9th out of 14 teams in Division 2. The boys’ team played well in a tough field, placing 11th out of 16.
It wasn’t just about results though. 10B girls’ player Zoe Fitzgerald was well pleased with her team’s effort. “We only won two games but the others were close,” she said. She was impressed by how much the team had improved in such a short time. For some players, such as year 9A player Shardanee Whitham-Te Kotua, the game is still new; she has only been playing since the beginning of term 4. The tournament was “good but tiring,” she said.
Several Nayland College students were singled out for special mention. Year 10 student Oliver Stark was chosen to referee the semi-final and final for Division 1 after being observed on duty during the tournament. He also received the Most Promising Referee Award. “It felt kind of good I guess because I got a free shirt and free volleyball out of it and Volleyball NZ recognised me for reffing,” he said.
Puna Wikaira and Sophie Young, both year 10, were named among the top 12 female players of the tournament. Puna found the experience a bit overwhelming. After managing to avoid going up with her team to receive their 3rd place medal, she was pretty shocked when her name was announced. “I couldn’t really process it,” she said. “It still hasn’t really sunk in.”
Puna thinks that being a left-hander has helped her game as it makes it harder for the opposing team to block her. She’s looking forward to playing for the senior team next year and the social aspect of travelling to tournaments together as a team.