Western Bay of Plenty schools had mixed fortunes at the Bay of Plenty secondary school volleyball champs at ASB Arena yesterday.
The defending national champion, Otumoetai College girls, came up against a determined Mount Maunganui outfit before prevailing in four tense sets, while on the adjacent court the Mount boys were unable to overcome the sheer athleticism of a razor-sharp Western Heights High School side in another four-setter.
The girls' final was the first underway, with Otumoetai getting off to what has become a typically slow start against their pumped-up rivals from across the bridge.
The Mount girls led 11-10 midway through the first frame before falling 25-21, but then snatched back the momentum with an impressive 25-23 performance in the second set.
The third and fourth sets followed a similar pattern, with the deeper, more experienced Otumoetai athletes claiming the title with 25-22 and 25-21 scores, respectively.
The Mount line-up will take plenty from the contest after forcing the top seeds into a rash of errors and tactical time-outs, and looked well capable of causing a boilover at the nationals later this month.
Western Heights, with a staggering collection of springy athletes, overpowered the Mount in a spectacular display of high-quality hitting in the boys' final.
The 25-19 first set score set the tone for a relatively comfortable victory, despite the Mount claiming the second set 25-20.
Western Heights' dominance was then underscored by 25-18 and 25-17 victories in the third and fourth sets.
It was a disappointing weekend for the typically strong Tauranga Boys' and Girls' teams, which failed to crack the top three placings in either competition.