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    Cleo Baker gives her full attention to a critical serve while competing in Volleyball Horsham’s 26th annual tournament. Baker was a key part of a historic home-town win for a women’s championship title, Horsham’s first in the division since 1995. Teams from across Victoria took part in a big weekend of volleyball action across three venues. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

PHOTOS: Women’s team creates history at Horsham volleyball tournament

By DAVID BERRY

A clean sweep of all three women’s divisions at the 26th annual Horsham tournament has set up Volleyball Horsham teams perfectly for next year’s Victorian Country Championships.

A Horsham championship women’s team set the tone for the tournament by winning the top division for the first time since 1995.

A division-one team quickly followed with success, atoning for a defeat in the section two years ago, and then a young Horsham College girls team caused the upset of the tournament by beating a Victorian White under-15 girls team in a women’s division-two grand final.



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Playing together for the first time since 2019 country champions, Volleyball Horsham girls got off to the perfect start when they beat Sunraysia in their first game.

 

 

A straight-sets win over Bendigo then steered the team into its clash with Melbourne Uni Renegades and in a highly entertaining game went down 25-27, 23-25.

While disappointed, the team gathered confidence knowing it could compete with the tournament favorites.

Needing to beat Warrnambool in straight sets in their final game, which they did, the Horsham team finished on top of the table, setting up a return clash with the region’s southern neighbours in a preliminary final.

After dropping the first set in a tight contest, the Horsham team hit its straps and took the second set comfortably before motoring home to take the deciding set, which qualified it for the final, for the first time since 2013.

In the final little separated the two teams as they traded blows until Molly Hobbs went back at 17-16 and took the score to 23-16 with some pressure serves, ably supported on the net by the power hitting of Cleo Baker. The first set was won 25-19.

The second set featured Renegades power hitter Tilly McDonald tearing the set to shreds as she powered her team back into the contest, with big hitting and devastating serving. No matter what the Horsham girls tried, they could not stop McDonald.

Horsham was off to a good start in the third set with firstly Kara Johnson causing havoc for the Renegades passers, followed quickly by Baker as the girls opened up a 17-12 lead. It was at that point the game took a massive turn in favour of the Horsham girls, when McDonald subbed off the court, needing to return to Melbourne.

The Horsham girls powered away, taking the third set 25-19.

The fourth set was the best with Horsham playing as if on cloud nine with everything touched turning to gold. 

By the time the score reached 16-6, it became a case of ‘how far?’ as the girls powered to history, winning 25-17 and taking the coveted gold, one they have been craving for so long. To top off a great weekend, Volleyball Horsham division-one girls, who had to beat Riddells Creek in straight sets in their final game to qualify for the finals and did so, recorded a four-set win over La Trobe Uni to take gold.
Lily Adams’ Horsham College girls played consistent volleyball to win the women’s division-two final in four sets.

A championship men’s division went to first-time participant BBJSC Pakenham in an upset win over Melbourne Uni Renegades, while Riddells Creek pulled out all stops to beat Dolan’s Dynasty from Maribyrnong, also in four sets.

Overall many people went home happy from Horsham and Volleyball Horsham was proud to present the event as the community comes out of COVID-19 lockdowns.

It took a power of work from the Volleyball Horsham committee, players and volunteers to pull it off and to those wonderful ambassadors for our community we are eternally grateful.

Volleyball Horsham also thanks Horsham Rural City Council for its support through the Covid Event Activation funding opportunity and Horsham Amateur Basketball Association and St Brigid’s and Lutheran colleges for the use of their facilities throughout the weekend.

We look forward to hosting the Victorian Country Championships during the June long weekend in 2022 and bringing more visitors back to Horsham.

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!