Napier Girls' High School Junior A completed a clean sweep of centre titles on Wednesday night, just days after producing their best placing at the North Island Junior Secondary Schools Volleyball Championship.

Coached by Alani and Kath Samia, the year 9-10 team finished fourth at the Auckland tournament attended by 50 teams. After qualifying second in their round of 32 pool on day one, they topped their round of 16 pool on day two, reaching the last eight for the first time. Their previous best performance was 10th last year.

They then won their quarterfinal against St Mary's College (Wellington) 2-0, before going down 1-2 in their semifinal to Trident High School (Whakatane), who went on to win the championship.

On Wednesday night, Napier Girls' wrapped up the Bay league with a 2-0 win over Havelock North High School Junior A.


That followed similar successes in the Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay Open and seeding tournaments.

The Samias built their squad around four returning players: Parris Petera (captain), Ashleigh Poi, and Harding twins, Sam and Ally.

In addition, rated tennis player Lily Verhoeven brought her powerful arm back to volleyball and year 9 pupil Melika Samia, the couple's third volleyball-playing daughter, gave them an excellent all-court player, strong enough to be named in the North Island tournament team.

The need for height at the net was met by newcomer Susanna Christison, who developed throughout the season and, ultimately, produced some stunning blocks in the big games.

Five members of the school's Junior B squad - Angel Maa, Jovalannah Leato, Nikita Cameron-Breeds, Jessica Rose and Parehuia Nia Nia - stepped up for the squad to play their part on and off the court at the North Islands.

Kath Samia said the success came from "hard work and a good culture, with the girls really focusing on their role within the team".

"All 12 athletes contributed to the success with a positive mind-set and positive energy. The bench players injected much energy into the success of the six girls on court.

"The girls were well supported by the school's senior players, who took time out from their exam schedules to train with them, and two, Rosalia Samia and Maddison Tabuteau, travelled as management alongside teacher, Danielle Rieter."

Havelock North High Junior A, coached by Ian Johnson, also deserve a measure of credit for Napier Girls' performances, as they pushed them hard all year, appearing in all the Bay finals. They gained two wins from eight clashes against their arch-rivals. Havelock North finished 16th at the North Islands, well above their pre-tourney seeding of 29.

Gisborne Boys' High was the outstanding junior boys' team in the region, winning the HBPB Open and finishing fourth at the 46-team North Islands. They also fielded a B team.

Napier Boys' High School finished 11th, Havelock North High 16th and Hastings Boys' High 17th at the North Island tournament.

NBHS had earlier won the HBPB seeding tourney, while HBHS took out the league final on Wednesday night.