Brandon’s volleyball newbies take title
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.