An increasing interest in volleyball from youth has been shown yet again with a record number of Northland Years 7-9 students playing over the last two days.

Sixteen girls' teams took to the ASB Stadium courts on Thursday representing 10 schools for their competition. Yesterday, 10 boys' teams from six schools played their tournament which, together with the girls' competition, was an increase from the five or six schools represented in previous years.

Dargaville High School's Andi Paxton (centre) puts some force into her overhead dig. Photo / John Stone
Dargaville High School's Andi Paxton (centre) puts some force into her overhead dig. Photo / John Stone

"The focus of the days was on participation," Volleyball Northland head Grant Harrison said.

"Getting to know the game, develop and practise some of the skills associated with the game along with having some fun and understanding how players can contribute are all valuable in early volleyball experiences.

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"The tournaments are also used to develop coaches, in particular student coaches, and student officials in a non-threatening environment."

Tikipunga High School's Te Oranga Rapira-Harawira keeps steady as she sets the ball for her teammates. Photo / John Stone
Tikipunga High School's Te Oranga Rapira-Harawira keeps steady as she sets the ball for her teammates. Photo / John Stone

The close results of the games indicated the players' inexperience with the game and the skills, however the excitement that these close games promoted added to the fun part of the day.

In the girls Years 7-8 division, Te Kāpehu Whetū performed the most consistently over the day to remain unbeaten against Tauraroa Area School and Ruawai College. In the Year 9 division, Whangārei Girls' High School White claimed the win with Tikipunga High School, the runner-up.

Dargaville High School's Ella Pyke serves the ball to her opposition from Whangārei Girls' High School. Photo / John Stone
Dargaville High School's Ella Pyke serves the ball to her opposition from Whangārei Girls' High School. Photo / John Stone

In the boys' Years 7-8 division, Tikipunga High performed consistently to remain undefeated with Kamo Intermediate taking out second. The Year 9 boys' division saw an undefeated run by Tikipunga High to claim the win.

Kamo Intermediate School teacher aid Suzy McAsey said she was glad to see so many students flocking to the sport.

"It's really good seeing the expansion to include teams from Whangaroa College and Dargaville High School," she said

Te Kāpehu Whetū coach Jason Woods (centre) delivers his message to the team in the half-time break. Photo / John Stone
Te Kāpehu Whetū coach Jason Woods (centre) delivers his message to the team in the half-time break. Photo / John Stone

Northland volleyball star Tarquala Whittaker-Stone, who was also a national under-17 representative, said it was good to see more youth getting involved.

"Volleyball is growing in Northland, it's so cool to see these younger players getting to play the sport I love."

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Katarina Ashby-Nathan from Dargaville High School (centre) moves around her teammate to return the ball. Photo / John Stone
Katarina Ashby-Nathan from Dargaville High School (centre) moves around her teammate to return the ball. Photo / John Stone
Volunteer referee Konica Chhoeun, 15, makes her call clear to the boys on the court. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Volunteer referee Konica Chhoeun, 15, makes her call clear to the boys on the court. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Twelve-year-old Kade Manahi from Kamo Intermediate School (right) manages to tip the ball back over the net. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Twelve-year-old Kade Manahi from Kamo Intermediate School (right) manages to tip the ball back over the net. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kamo Intermediate's Ry Cuff, 12, climbs high to spike the ball. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kamo Intermediate's Ry Cuff, 12, climbs high to spike the ball. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kamo Intermediate's Luke Gysberts, 13, was a dominant force on the courts of ASB Stadium yesterday. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kamo Intermediate's Luke Gysberts, 13, was a dominant force on the courts of ASB Stadium yesterday. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kamo Intermediate School teacher-aid Suzy McAsey watches on with a smile. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kamo Intermediate School teacher-aid Suzy McAsey watches on with a smile. Photo / Michael Cunningham