State League Junior Girls: Our highest girls State League Juniors team was always going to be stretched this season with stepping up to the highest U19 division. We set out this year to stretch some of our strongest players through leadership and broadening their roles and they are really stepping up. Our setters continue to understand what they need to do to drive the team offence, we have a couple of very strong servers and our younger players have done a great job in covering absences by stepping into starting six positions about a year before they ideally should be challenged at this level.
With our strongest players all present, fit and firing our team is competitive with the best teams in the division, however playing with consistency AND keeping this team on court has been a challenge. When we can address this, we will get the wins that the girls deserve. At the break we have only one win posted but at least two other games that we really should have won so we need to take this next step over the second half of the season.
Anne-Marie McAinsh – State League Junior Girls Coach
State League Junior Boys: showing a great deal of potential, winning their first and last games so far, and taking sets off and pushing the best of opponents. The team is learning the value of consistent serving to targets, and for a comparatively young side have shown they can play disciplined and intelligent volleyball when focused.
Half way through the season sees the U15 girls sitting fourth on the ladder after the spilt of the competition into two divisions. This bunch of young and enthusiastic girls have improved in leaps and bounds. At the start of the season it was exciting when the ball just over the net, but now this great bunch of young kids are playing good quality 3 touch volleyball. Our main strength in the team is our serving, provided we don’t foot fault, with several players having great runs on serve. Thankfully I’ve only had to shell out for one ice-cream for 10 serves in a row – but multiple times my wallet has been close to taking a big hit. The majority of girls played together in the summer season, but with introduction of 2 new players the team is showing great signs for a promising Posted on push towards the final series.
This season, the Div men have been fighting hard to show what a complete new team can do. With only three returning div players from last year, a complete restructure of the team has occurred. Five juniors have come up to fill in the empty spots, alongside with new players who have decided to return to the competitive sport. The start of the season was a bit scrappy, as not much preseason training occurred with the team. However, after finally dusting off the cobwebs and learning about how to play with each other, a recent successful 3-0 win, followed by a very close 5 setter defeat has occurred. I’m really proud of the team’s effort to play alongside each other for the first time and to always fight until the ball hits the ground. The opposition should not take this team for granted and I for one am proud to be their captain. Since being allocated into Div 2 after selections, the current goal for the team is to continue developing our skills in order to climb up the ladder.
2015 started off with a brand new vibe and feel amongst the Men’s Program. The appointment of Pete Bawhey as the new Head Men’s coach sent a positive message across the playing group. Pre-season was hot with large trainings usually consisting of high quality volleyball even after the summer break. The message from the start of the season was to be aggressive and hungry to win and this can be clearly shown in how we’re going as a team in the 2015 State League Season, sitting third after seven rounds. The team is a very young and fresh new side from last year as a lot of us have been given the opportunity to represent the club at this level after coming from the Division 1 team in 2014. While being mentored and supported by club veterans Brandon Rogowski and James McClay who provide endless amounts of experience to our young and developing team. We set goals from the start of the year which were to be aggressive and want to win and we are showing this from our fast offence, pressure serves and amazing scrambling for the ball. This year’s competition is extremely close which means all teams are needing to be on their toes no matter who the opposition is. I believe that with the group of boys we have and a truly determined and passionate coach, we have what it takes to be playing strong, competitive volleyball all the way through finals and take out this year’s championship. Each and every week as we put the hours in at training we’re making a team of champions into a true championship team!
As a team we’re developing really well, considering how the team has changed quite dramatically with players leaving due to work and pregnancies. However, the team has been supplemented by 3 players who have come up from division 1 – phoebe, lizzie and Nat. These girls are performing extremely well and fit perfectly within the team! Thus far, The Reserve women have won 2 out of 6 games – the games that we won were convincing 3-0 wins against Adelaide university and Northern Knights. However, In the games that we have lost, we didn’t go down without a fight – ensuring that we always took at least one (if not two) sets off the opposition. The highlight for me this season occurred in round 6 – where our Libero, Alicia, had to step in as a middle due to many players being out for exams. She was incredible – managed at least 4 winning blocks and equal number of winning hits. Now that the team is settled, I am thoroughly looking forward to being competitive in the second half of the season and taking more wins and continuing to improve our skills and mental focus at trainings – which we can apply to game day!
After 12 weeks of extremely hard work and preparation in pre-season training, the league women have achieved what is perhaps their strongest start to a state league season with 4 straight wins over 4 very competitive clubs placing us top of the ladder and in a very dominant position. Although distractions through injury, illness and Australian National Team commitments have contributed to some disappointing losses over the last 2 weeks, coming off the back of a runner’s up result in both 2014 state league season and again in the highly competitive Warnambool Seaside Tournament, the girls have continued to aggressively tackle trainings and games with very high expectations and newfound confidence in their playing abilities and cohesiveness as a team. New coach Simon Phillips has been instrumental in developing both tactical and skilled aspects of the game play, as well as exposing and emphasising the already present defensive and blocking strengths of the team which I believe are currently the best in the women’s state league competition.
The 2015 season has seen some welcome new additions to the team with Lauren Crago training in a challenging role as second setter, Laura Coat and State League Reserves 2014 ‘Best and Fairest’ Harriet Berman filling the big (size 12 ladies) shoes of Australian National middle player Beth Carey, and Tess Morcom returning to reserve pass/hitter and opposite role after a long hiatus from volleyball. League women’s setter Karola Laventure also changed scenery to the back of the court as libero and has strengthened the defensive dominance of the team. These players have seamlessly transitioned into their positions in the league squad with a strong core group of senior girls who have played together as a cohesive unit for as long as ten years, yet continue to positively influence and challenge each other to play stronger, harder, and better. As a long standing league women’s player and 2015 captain, I am extremely honoured and proud to lead this passionate group of girls into the next half of the season. If we continue to embrace each match and training session with renewed confidence and enthusiasm, and show an aggressive mind-set to our opponents, I have absolute and complete confidence that we will achieve the ultimate goal…a 2015 State League Women’s Gold Medal!
Austral Volleyball Club’s League Men have enjoyed an excellent start to the season winning four of their first six games. Coming into their bye round the league men were second on the ladder; however, after the bye they have moved to fifth place, highlighting how tight the competition is this year. Under the guidance of new head coach Peter Bawhey, the league men are enjoying playing and training with a team first attitude. Peter has made squad bonding an integral part of the training program, particularly in preseason, to ensure that there is a positive, hard working culture across all teams.
The league men are playing an exciting brand of volleyball after the inclusion of some new faces into the team, in particular the 2014 South Adelaide Volleyball Club MVP and University of South Australia Athlete of the year Elliot King. He, Lewis McDonald and Rhys Wood have all brought a new level of skill and leadership to the team after all debuting for the Adelaide Storm in last year’s Australian Volleyball League. Thomas Rogers has also been influential in his role as libero since his promotion to the league team.
Exciting wins over USC Lion and the Norwood Bears, as well as convincing wins over the Northern Knights and South Adelaide has highlighted the league men’s dominance when at their best. If they can continue their improvement and good form the team is likely to not only make the finals but also have a serious impact on them.
I spoke with Austral Volleyball’s Div 1. Women’s Captain, Lizzie Rogers to see how they have been going so far this year. ” I’m really happy with the way the div girls team has progressed this year. we never have a quick three set game, which I guess is a good sign of being at a good competitive level with the other teams. The team has bonded well since pre season, it’s good to see fresh faces to Austral as well as a few juniors joining the Senior ranks, adapting to the way the club works and the different level of volleyball. The different skill level of players in the Women’s Div 1. Team has been a challenge, and although we havent been able to walk away with many wins in the first half of the season, I think its partly due to a new team learning how to play together, and think we’ll have a better chance rematching against some of the teams later in the year. Our team stuggled with the passing system at the beginning of the year, but I think this has been a big area of improvement, which is credit to the work of coaches and senior team members. Our goals for the rest of the season are for the team to continue to become more cohesive and consistent, which I feel will be the difference between a win or loss in many of the close 5 set matches we’ve played so far.”
The 2015 season for the men started with the appointment of new coaches, Peter Bawhey taking on League and Reserves, and Thomas Rogers with the Div 1 Men, which has resulted in a newfound attitude and renewed enthusiasm. The league men’s team hasn’t changed much from previous season, with the exception of Elliot King coming into the starting line-up, but from the outside they seem like a new team. Perhaps it’s a case of a regimented routine bearing results or maybe the once “young” team has matured into a strong and aggressive beast? Whatever the case may be, our premier men’s team has achieved one of the best starts the season that the team has seen in a number of years – sitting 3rd on the table after round 4.
In contrast to the league team, the reserves team has changed quite significantly but yet boasting a similar result – sitting at 4th spot. A number of players have been elevated from last year’s Div 1 team, and even Greg Darani coming from our junior program, to fill the spots of players whom have move up to the league team or moved on to different clubs. The reserves competition looks to be quite an even competition this year with our lads being right in the mix!
The Div 1 team looks significantly different to last year with a number of new players being added to the roster as well as a returning senior member of the Austral Volleyball club. The lads have only won 1 game out of the 4 played but that’s no reflection of their efforts or attitude and should see them put a few more wins on the board. This year has felt different to last the last few – there seems to be a hunger & positivity amongst the entire squad which we all hope will breed a winning culture.
Brandon Rogowski (aka Father Purple) Men’s Squad Captain