SOUTH Gippsland Volleyball capped off a great season at the Victorian Volleyball League Grand Finals on Saturday, August 18. South Gippsland had entered three teams at the start of the year in the state’s premier volleyball competition, with all three teams making the finals. The Division 3 Women’s team as well as the Junior Girls team made it to their respective grand finals, and both were 2018 winners.
The Junior Girls match was played on the main show-court in front of a vocal and enthusiastic crowd, with many members of South Gippsland club making the trip to the State Volleyball Centre to watch. The South Gippsland Girls came into the match high in confidence, having won their semi-final in straight sets over Mornington in second place, whereas their competition, the Monash University girls, made the final the hard way, with two tight wins required to qualify for the final match of the season.
The South Gippsland Girls had a strong start, showing the fine form that saw them only lose three sets all season. They quickly jumped out to a one set to love lead on the back of strong and powerful hitting from all parts of the court. This pattern continued into the second set, with South Gippsland’s aggressive serving and big block providing problems for Monash, who struggled to mount consistent attacks.
Entering the third set, down 2:0, Monash threw caution to the wind and jumped out to an early lead. This didn’t last long, as the experience of the girls from South Gippsland, who finished runners up last year, shone through, and they calmly responded with excellent passing, allowing both of the South Gippsland setters to select from a range of hitting options and keep the Monash girls on the back foot. The depth of skill of the South Gippsland team was obvious to observers, with all eleven girls contributing to the comfortable 3:0 win after sets of 25-13, 25-15, and 25-16.
For the Division 3 Women’s team, it was reportedly a dream come true to be able to play at such an elite level. What an amazing effort for their first year in the State League Competition! Their dedication to training and playing in Melbourne each week has been a big commitment.
The women’s team had been undefeated all year until they lost in the semi-final to Heidelberg 2, but it had been a solid season, and they went on to win the qualifying final, entering the grand final with confidence. They met Heidelberg 2 again in the grand final and defeated them convincingly this time with a 3:0 win, following sets of 25-15, 25-14, and 25-13.
Coach, Jenny Damon, remarked on the team’s efforts, saying “Their passes were consistent and they never let a ball hit the ground. Our careful eyes of the blockers meant when there was a ball to block they were on it. Our steady setters put the ball up for our hitters to hit and they did not disappoint. All players have put in a remarkable performance and are to be commended.”
An MVP is awarded for each of the Grand Finals, and it was wonderful to see two South Gippsland players receive this award for their respective games, Jessica Sanders in the Division 3 Women’s match, and Alexandra Scott in the Junior Girls. Former club member James Shuttleworth also won MVP in the Division 2 Men’s match for Monash University.
All players play locally at SPLASH in Leongatha, with teams ranging from juniors to seniors, both social and competitive. Come along on a Thursday night at 7.30pm to see some great volleyball being played, and you may even be tempted to give it a go. The club are always happy to see more people enjoying volleyball.
South Gippsland Volleyball teams win State League