Wimmera schools dominate Australian Volleyball Schools Cup

TEN Wimmera high school teams produced the region's best ever medal haul at the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup in Melbourne last week.

The teams from Horsham College, Murtoa College and St Brigid's College in Horsham won a combined two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the week-long tournament, which concluded on Friday.

It is the biggest volleyball tournament in the nation, with 483 teams including schools from New Zealand and Singapore entering this year.

The Murtoa under-15 division three boys and St Brigid's under-15 division three girls were dominant for the entire week and went undefeated to claim gold medals.

The Murtoa boys did not drop a single set until they faced Adelaide's Rostrevor in the final, but pulled through to win 25-15, 19-25 and 15-11.

St Brigid's under-15 girls dropped just one set for the tournament and were flawless in the final against Bendigo South East College, winning 25-21, 25-15.

Murtoa's under-16 division three boys were unlucky not to come away with gold.

The team battled a bout of gastroenteritis during the tournament to qualify for the final undefeated, but lost in two sets to Ipswich a side the boys had previously beaten.

Horsham College's under-15 division two girls were also unfortunate not to bag a gold medal.

They were undefeated in pool play and made it through to the grand final but lost in two sets to Brighton.

Bronze medals went to Horsham College's under-16 division three girls and Murtoa's under-17 division three girls, who beat Loxton and St Brigid's respectively in their third-place playoff matches.

The remaining teams in the tournament also produced some strong results.

Horsham College's open boys division two team finished 12th and the open girls division three side finished 13th.

Murtoa's under-16 division three girls were sixth and the St Brigid's under-17 division three girls finished fourth after losing to Murtoa in the bronze medal match.

Murtoa volleyball director Shannon Argall who coached the under-15 boys to victory said the results for the college were the culmination of years of work.

"For the past couple of years Murtoa has probably been second fiddle to Horsham College in terms of volleyball results, so we wanted to show how much we've improved," he said.

"For a school that's this small, to come away with three medals from four teams at the biggest tournament in the country is pretty incredible."

Argall said Murtoa's volleyball elective program was paying dividends in the on-court results.

Volleyball Horsham president David Berry coached the St Brigid's under-15 girls to gold during the tournament and said the results were a reflection of the Wimmera's passion for the sport.

"This was the best overall medal total we've had in the region," he said.

"I think the fact the spoils were shared right across the board makes it that much better.

"It's a fantastic advertisement for the sport here in the Wimmera.

"It also shows how much the schools have embraced volleyball, and we're eternally grateful for their support."

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