With some high quality teams in action, Volleyball Horsham teams weren't disgraced at the 25th annual Horsham Tournament.
The men's Division 1 final saw two new teams to the Horsham Tournament in Hickman's Warriors from Bendigo and Brawndo from Melbourne, square off against each other with both teams full of talent.
Volleyball Horsham's men's team finished in third place, missing out on making the final by one set.
"It was pretty hard to take, but that's how it goes, we didn't achieve what we wanted to in what proved to be a very strong men's division," said captain Matthew Berry. "But we'll bounce back for sure next year."
The women's Division 1 final saw Melbourne Uni Renegades go back to back, but only after coming from two sets to one down and winning in five, against the Victorian White U19 team.
Volleyball Horsham's women's team finished fourth after being beaten by the Vic team in a preliminary final.
"I was pleased with how we played and our results showed that. We were competitive in every game we played, so I'm not disappointed," said captain Kara Johnson. "The most pleasing aspect was that we debuted 15 year old Molly Fagan in division one in her first tournament, and Molly did a great job, despite being as nervous as a kitten."
In men's Division 2 it was a replay of last year's final with Team United from Adelaide proving too good for the Horsham team again. Horsham's team was decimated when key setter Nathan Berry went down with a serious ankle injury on the Saturday.
"This meant that key hitters Tim Popple and Jordy Weidemann had to share the setting duties and as hard as we tried we couldn't match the skill of the Team United setter Michael Ca-ayon," said captain Shaun Bray.
In women's Division 2 tournament favorites South West Pirates had to pull out all stops to beat a determined Horsham team in four sets. The biggest highlight for this team was seeing the return to play of Makaelah Robertson after serious injury. "Makaelah had been training with the Australian Para Volley team in the lead up to the tournament and despite battling nerves she took to the court and gave her all."
In men's Division 3 it was a victory to Horsham and for the St Brigid's College boys in the team Will Brennan, Harry Combe, Sam Cameron and Aidan O'Connor it bought up win number four in consecutive years.
The strength of junior volleyball in Horsham shone through when the top three teams on the junior division ladder were all Volleyball Horsham teams. In the final Murtoa defeated the HTLC Phantoms in a thrilling five setter. "It was a great way to finish our year as all our kids have been playing on a Monday night in the Volleyball Horsham junior competition, which prepared them perfectly for this tournament," said coach Elena Fagan.
The tournament kicked off on the Friday night with a full grandstand watching Harry's Match 2, involving for the first time some female legends of Horsham and Murtoa volleyball playing a curtain raiser to the men's match. The girls put on a great display of determined volleyball, and despite not playing together for 10 years the Horsham girls proved too good for Murtoa.
Then the boys came out and in a high standard contest the "Little Boys" lead by Chris Radford and Jordy Weidemann got revenge on the "Big Boys" winning in a tight three setter. "To be able to do what we love with our mates makes this event a must on my calendar every year," said the returning Tim Ladlow.
The volleyball year ends this weekend when a Volleyball Horsham under 19 girls team plays in the top division at the inaugural Volleyball Victoria Junior Open.
One hundred and fifty teams from across Victoria and SA have entered the four day event which starts on Sunday and concludes with medal matches on Wednesday.
"We have a really good team with Cleo Baker and Laelah Robertson in good form, and with our two invited players from Sunraysia in Zoe Smith and Cayla Fawdry, we are confident of making top four in our division, which will put us in medal contention," said captain Tamikah Dockrill.
"I know we are all really looking forward to playing in this event."