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27 November 2019
By DAVID BERRY
Volleyball Horsham teams were far from disgraced at a 25th annual Horsham Tournament that saw many high-quality teams gather in contention.
The men’s division-one final saw two new sides, Hickman’s Warriors from Bendigo and Brawndo from Melbourne, square off against each other with both teams full of talent.
Volleyball Horsham’s men’s team finished in third place, missing the final by one set.
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Horsham captain Matthew Berry said the result was hard to take.
“But that’s how it goes,” he said. “We didn’t achieve what we wanted to in what proved to be a very strong men’s division.
“But we’ll bounce back for sure next year.”
A women’s division-one final saw Melbourne Uni Renegades go back-to-back, but only after coming from two-sets-to-one down and winning in five against a Victorian White under-19 team.
Volleyball Horsham’s women’s team finished fourth after being beaten by the Victoria White team in a preliminary final.
Horsham women’s captain Kara Johnson said she was pleased with how the team played.
“Our results showed we were competitive in every game we played, so I’m not disappointed,” she said. “The most pleasing aspect was that we debuted 15-year-old Molly Fagan in division one in her first tournament, and Molly did a great job, despite being as nervous as a kitten.”
In men’s division two it was a replay of last year’s final, with Adelaide’s Team United again proving too good for Horsham, which was decimated when key setter Nathan Berry went down with a serious ankle injury on Saturday.
Captain Shaun Bray said key hitters Tim Popple and Jordy Weidemann had to share the setting duties in Berry’s absence.
“And as hard as we tried, we couldn’t match the skill of the Team United setter Michael Ca-ayon,” he said.
In women’s division two, tournament favourites South West Pirates had to pull out all stops to beat a determined Horsham team in four sets.
The biggest highlight for the Horsham women was seeing Makaelah Robertson return to the play. Robertson had been training with the Australian Para Volley team in the lead up to the tournament.
Horsham was victorious in a straight-set win in men’s division-three, and for the team’s St Brigid’s College boys Will Brennan, Harry Combe, Sam Cameron and Aidan O’Connor, it marked a fourth consecutive win following their junior division takings.
Team captain Scott Davidson said the boys started as juniors and won that division three years in a row. “They handled the step up to senior competition seamlessly,” he said.
The strength of junior volleyball in Horsham shone through with the top three teams on the junior division ladder all Volleyball Horsham teams.
In the final, Murtoa defeated Holy Trinity Lutheran College Phantoms in a thrilling five setter which kept players, coaches, spectators and families on the edge of their seats.
The tournament kicked off on the Friday night with a full grandstand watching ‘Harry’s Match 2’, involving for the first time Horsham and Murtoa female volleyball legends – Kara Johnson’s Gold Stars – playing a curtain raiser to the men’s match.
In a display of determined volleyball, and despite not playing together for 10 years, the Horsham girls proved too good for Murtoa on the night.
In a high-standard male contest afterwards, Chris Radford and Jordy Weidemann led the ‘Little Boys’ for a win in a tight three setter over the ‘Big Boys’.
The volleyball year ends this weekend when a Volleyball Horsham under 19 girls’ team plays in the top division at an inaugural Volleyball Victoria Junior Open.
The four-day event, starting on Sunday and ending with medal matches on the following Wednesday, will involve 150 teams from across Victoria and South Australia.
The entire November 27, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire November 27, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!