Otumoetai Girls' A overcame a spirited Tauranga Girls' College A to take the Bay of Plenty Secondary School Volleyball title for the fourth year in a row yesterday.
It looked like Otumoetai would cruise to the win after taking the first two sets 25-14 and 25-15, but Girls' College stunned the trophy holders, coming from 22-17 down to take the third 25-22.
Otumoetai didn't have it all their own way in the fourth set either, the tenacity of the opposition seeing them cling on to Otumoetai's coat-tails and come close to repeating their third set heroics. In the end, some fine blocking by Otumoetai saw to it that they took the title once again.
Coach Stewart Henderson said winning four in a row was something the players had focused on.
"We've lost a lot of experience from last year - five players - but these guys have come on really well, so I'm really pleased with the way they played today against good opposition - girls' college played really well."
Girls' College's comeback to win the third set was something Henderson said his team coped with. "It's just one of those things. Volleyball's like that - you've just got to play it out and then refocus for the next set - and that's what the girls did, so it's coming on quite nicely. We are pleased to win our own Bay of Plenty title - it's really important to us."
Henderson singled out several players, but said it was a good all-round team effort. "McKenna Armstong played really well, she blocked well, and Kahu Te Kani, the captain, she hit very well. Babette Morris, she's a Year 12 student so it's her first year setting, and she played exceptionally well for me. And I was pleased with libero Rosie Sussex. She passed really well and she picked up a lot of tough ball."
Next on the volleyball calendar is the national secondary schools championships in Palmerston North in early April.
Western Heights A went through the weekend unbeaten to take out the boys' title, beating Tauranga Boys' College A 3-0 in the final. All three sets followed a similar pattern with Boys' College staying with Western Heights for the first part of each set, with the title winners pulling away each time.
"I think we were quite focused today - we had good intensity and stuck to the basics," said Western Heights coach Eugene Bogun.
In the girls' competition, Mount Maunganui A beat Trident Blue in a nail biter for third place while Trident A beat Otumoetai for third place overall in the boys, division.