Horsham breaks through
Eight months of planning came off perfectly for Volleyball Horsham’s men’s division one team, when it won its first ever gold medal at the 50th anniversary Victorian Country Championships.
An emotion charged victory at the Horsham Tournament in November, where the majority of the team came together, paved the way for a serious shot at the coveted men’s division one country title at the impressive new Bendigo Stadium.
Pitted against Latrobe Valley, Bendigo, Sunraysia and Ballarat, the team finished in second spot on the ladder after the round robin phase of the tournament, with victories over Latrobe, Sunraysia and Ballarat and a five set loss to Bendigo.
In the gold medal qualifier against Latrobe Valley, the team recorded a four set victory to set up a showdown with Bendigo, which had gone through the tournament undefeated.
The tone was set in the warm up of the final with both teams trading pleasantries under the net with each other, and it was Horsham that fed off that adrenaline better, establishing an early lead that Bendigo could not bridge. The first set went to Horsham 25-17.
In the second set both teams traded
big spikes and massive blocks, but it was the Horsham boys who were first to 20 and closed the set out, winning 25-21.
The third set followed a similar pattern, with Horsham holding a two-point lead at 16-14, which then opened up to 21-16 and 24-17.
Finally, with a Cam Robinson block, that much sought-after gold medal became a reality.
Captain Matthew Berry was the ‘All Star Seven’ best setter while Cam Robinson was also selected in an honorary squad.
In the women’s division one, Volleyball Horsham recorded an emotional five-set win over South Gippsland in a bronze medal match.
Battling injury to key players, the girls managed to restructure their line-up to maximum effect, with all eight players contributing to the result.
Invited Sunraysia player Brooke Freckleton was named an ‘All Star’.
In men’s division two, Volleyball Horsham’s team went through the pool phase undefeated, recording wins over Bellarine, Maffra, Riddell’s Creek and Latrobe Valley. In its championship pool matches the team was brave in close defeats to Bairnsdale and Bendigo, eventually missing out on getting into the gold medal match by 0.4 percent.
In the bronze medal match the team put up a huge fight against Bendigo but couldn’t get the points it needed at the right time and went down 27-29, 22-25, 19-25.
Nathan Berry was an ‘All Star Seven’ selection for men’s division two.
Next year the championships will be at Korumburra.
HISTORY MAKERS: Volleyball Horsham captured a division one men’s gold medal for the first time ever at a Victorian Country Championships in Bendigo at the weekend. The title-winning team is, from left, coach Josh Cowan, John Dal Santo, Jack Hannan, Matthew Berry, Cameron Robinson, Chris Radford, Nick Adamson, Brady King, Harry Stemp and Tim Ladlow.