Teams from the Bay of Plenty and North Shore regions have dominated matches in both the boys' and girls' sections of the First Division at the 50th NZ Secondary Schools Volleyball Championships being played in Palmerston North.
The top seeds for the tournament, Otumoetai College (girls) and Rangitoto College (boys) have made it through to the quarter-finals, although the latter dropped a game to Bay of Plenty champions Western Heights High School, and had to fight hard to defeat cross-town rivals Westlake Boys High in five sets on Wednesday afternoon.
Particularly impressive for the Rangitoto team was outside hitter Sam Andersen who converted almost every set he received into a winning point, despite his relative lack of height.
Four of eight unbeaten teams moving into the quarterfinals are from the very strong Bay of Plenty region, including Tauranga Boys' College, while another three are from the North Shore region with only Wellington's St Mary's College challenging this group.
Provided it wins its last section play game against the winless Mangere College, Otago Girls' High will make it through to the quarter-finals from seeding number 32, the lowest position it is possible to challenge for the championship from and a credit to the several fightbacks that team has had to make.
Shirley Boys' High at ranking no 23 and Orewa College girls (20) have also made it through from well outside the top rankings.
Quarter-finals and semifinals for the 171-team tournament are played today, with the finals for all grades on Friday afternoon.
Boys — Orewa College, Trident College, Western Heights High School, Tauranga Boys' College, Nayland College, De La Salle College, Rangitoto College, Shirley Boys' High School
Girls — Otumoetai College, Orewa College, Westlake Girls High School, St Mary's College, Sacred Heart College (Lower Hutt), Aorere College, Otago Girls' High School, Rangitoto College