Bran­don’s vol­ley­ball new­bies take ti­tle

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Call it be­gin­ners’ luck or un­canny skill – Bran­don In­ter­me­di­ate are Welling­ton vol­ley­ball cham­pi­ons two weeks after play­ers took up the sport.

The Can­nons Creek school’s girls’ team won all their seven games at a re­gional in­ter­me­di­atelevel tour­na­ment on Au­gust 19, beat­ing half a dozen schools for the WISSA Girls’ Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship Cup.

The school’s boys team also im­pressed, coming third over­all.

Bran­don only in­tro­duced vol­ley­ball when they heard about the tour­na­ment in a news­let­ter two weeks be­fore the tour­na­ment, school sports co-or­di­na­tor Ed Tuitapa says.

Sixty boys and girls put their hands up as po­ten­tial play­ers, the num­ber hav­ing to be cut down to teams of 11.

Nei­ther teach­ers nor stu­dents knew much about the sport, and Mr Tuitapa had to re­search the game on Wikipedia be­fore coach­ing be­gan.

‘‘I thought it couldn’t be that hard coach­ing vol­ley­ball, but I was wrong – be­ing a coach is never re­laxed,’’ he says.

After a shaky start learn­ing the rules, the teams started to show form and were on top of their game at the tour­na­ment, played at the Chi­nese Cen­tre in Berhampore.

The win is a big deal for the school, which has not had a rep­u­ta­tion as a strong sports school in the past, Mr Tuitapa says.

‘‘Winning it is very good for us, es­pe­cially be­ing the only school from Porirua.’’

Bran­don im­pressed off the court too, both teams be­ing com­mended for their be­hav­iour by tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers.

The girls say the tour­na­ment was ‘‘ awe­some’’ and credit their suc­cess to com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mu­tual sup­port.

They find vol­ley­ball a safer game than high-con­tact net­ball, which they also play.

All but one of the girls are go­ing off to high school next year, but most think their com­mit­ment to vol­ley­ball will con­tinue.

Bran­don prin­ci­pal Nicki Stur­geon says the teams’ suc­cess comes down to the ded­i­ca­tion of staff and the stu­dents’ hard work.

‘‘It’s a tes­ta­ment to the kids and the staff that work with them,’’ she says.

Be­gin­ners’ pluck: Bran­don In­ter­me­di­ate’s girls’ vol­ley­ball team are at the top of their game just two weeks after adopt­ing the sport. Pic­tured, at back from left, are Donna-Lyn Vavega, 13, Malaea Eni, 12, An­gel Faa­mausili, 11, Julee Mamea, 13, Sariah Pe­nese, 12, Kuialo Aleni, 12, and at front Aye­sha Vaea, 12 and Meari Rota, 12.

On the ball: Tawa Squash Club mem­bers make up a size­able pro­por­tion of the 2011 Welling­ton ju­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams. From left, Jessie-Rose Ward-Thomas, Paris Dal­rym­ple-Mortle­man, Ellen Verry and Jason van der Walt.

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