State Knockout

The annual state schoolsopen  knockout competition final is on next week. there is also a year 8/9 competition and a year 10 ompetition held at other times in the year. In the boys, the remaining 6 teams are Heathfield, Brighton, Willunga, Loxton, Renmark and Concordia. In the girls, it’s Heathfield, Brighton, Willunga, Loxton, Renmark and Marryatville.

I never took this competition seriously. Anyone who has a reallistic opportunity to win it treats it as a practice matches for Schools Cup. It’s a bit like he world league of schools volleyball. I usually don’t take much notice but i’ve been asked to coach the Willunga Open Girls team for the day.

Brighton would have to be unbackable favourites to win the girls title. They could have as many as 3 AVL players on the team. The rest of the team ain’t shabby either with plenty of players with AJVC and league/reserves experience. But who knows, you can never underestimate Heathfield or Eldo. Heathfield also has Georgie Rowe.

The boys title is a bit harder to call. Brighton have some very talented athletes, but they’ll be a younger side than heathfield’s. 9 of the 10 players in the SA U17 state team were from Brighton and no doubt some of those guys will be in the team. There’s also some handy older players too. Last time I saw them play in the final of the Skins tournament, Heathfield won 3-1, but Brighton were significantly under strength. I’ll have to tip Brighton for the boys. They block well and attack smart. John Tiver has produced an athletic team that plays good fundamental men’s volleyball.

Inevitably, the SIV teams will win, but what makes this year final-6 interesting is the number of good players in other teams. It’s as if the talent is starting to spread out a bit. My Willunga Girs team will be a mix of the players who won the U16 girls honours silver medal, the girls who won the U17 div 1 gold medal at AVSC last year, and possibly a couple of girls who have played for the national junior women’s team. They’re both in yr 12 and have their formal that night, so i’m not sure if they’ll play. There’ll be the best side we’ve had for years, and possibly for some years to come, but unfortunately, it’s probably not enough to beat the SIVs. Marryatville also has an interesting team, with about 9 girls i coach across 4 junior teams at Norwood Bears. They cover a diverse age group so while they have a couple of players who ave played league, they’ll also have a couple of starters in year 9 and 10. I’ll definitely be cheering them on in the other pool. And then of course there’s Loxton: Willunga’s hoodoo team, who we’ve yet to beat. ever. They also have a couple of handy state players, some very good athletes, and a habit of taking a lot of good teams to 5 sets with a never-say-die attitude.

The most interesting team in the boys will be Concordia. Last year my Willunga boys beat them easily in the same competition. I spoke to the boys after the game and mentioned they had a teacher at their school who was an excellent volleyball coach (who was my first coach in reserve men volleyball). Since dobbing in my old coach, they’ve been training 2 hrs every week and have put in a social team at goodwood. They also have a bunch of guys who have played at norwood including two reserves players, and a national youth beach rep. I’ve been helping them at trainings for the last 3 weeks and have a real soft spot for them. I hope they do well. Loxton may also be formidable if they have some players left from their open team last year who played open honours. The SIVs will dominate, but i think they’ll have to deal with some teams and players with a bit more fight than in previous years. It could be the start of a new era of slightly-less-lopsidedness. That’s about as high as we can aim for in SA.

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2 Responses to “State Knockout”

  1. SAVolleyball mum Says:

    Pffft of course the Willunga girls will beat brighton, its a given. And just a heads up brighton…… one of the year 12 girls is definately going and hungry for a win. 🙂 It should be a good day, Im looking forward to watching it.

  2. Hugh Nguyen Says:

    post script:

    In the end, both willunga teams finished a disappointing 5th place. The boys once lost to Renmark by 1 point on countback and missed out on the semi’s. The girls lost to a formidable Brighton, then once again lost to Loxton to finish bottom of their pool.

    In the other pool, the marryatville girls had a win against renmark and lost the semi’s to brighton. they played off for third against loxton. The game went ran out of time at 10-12 in the 3rd set (a decider to be played to 3-sets).

    The concordia boys had a strong performance beating Loxton. they lost to Heathfield in one set 26-18 after having at least 2 set points. Heathfield boys ended up beating Brighton in the final. Brighton girls beat Heathfield in the other final.

    It’s a difficult format: all knock out rounds must start and finish within the school day. that means not much time to eat and rest. you could have 2 games in a row then 2 duties in a row then another game. Still it’s one of the last volleyball comps going around that provides some opportunity to schools that won’t play AVSC/State Schools cup, and players that won’t play club.

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