Another National Championship has come to an end, and with the return of our seven junior state teams also came two medals from a familiar group of WA girls.
Last week, Volleyball Australia hosted the 30th Annual Australian Junior Volleyball Championships in Canberra. 75 teams from across Australia traveled to the capital to compete for eight different national titles: U14, U15, U17 and U19 age groups in the male and female divisions.
After a long week playing multiple games per day, WA returned from the tournament with two pieces of shiny hardware. The U17 Girls collected the Silver medal and the U15 Girls struck Gold. Between these two teams sat five of the same girls who won a Gold medal at the 2019 School Sport Australia 15 & Under National Volleyball Championships just six weeks prior to their AJVC performance:
U17 Girls – Cassandra Dodd (Reds Volleyball Club)
U17 Girls – Elizabeth Alchin (Rossmoyne Volleyball Club)
U17 Girls – Stephanie Mews (Rossmoyne Volleyball Club)
U15 Girls – Caitlin Whincup (Rossmoyne Volleyball Club)
U15 Girls – Phoebe Lewis (Rossmoyne Volleyball Club)
Assistant Coach of the U15 Girls, Jen Sadler expressed the roller coaster of emotions her and Head Coach Tenille Ryan experienced while coaching their young team to victory.
“We went into the tournament putting no expectations or pressure on the girls to win. Our goal the entire week was just for them to have fun and play their hearts out. Then we woke up on our first morning and beat Queensland 3-0, and we quickly realised that something had clicked. They all played together as a team and we were confident that they would maintain that energy and composure the whole week. ”
In addition to our medal winners, WA also had three teams in Bronze medal matches: U14 Girls, U15 Boys and U17 Boys. These three teams finished 4th in their divisions, while the U19 Girls finished 5th and the U19 Boys finished 6th. Although just missing out on three additional medals, it was certainly a strong start for WA with many teams dominating their brackets in pool play.
“It was tough to watch so many of our WA teams just miss out in their medal matches, and it definitely made us a little nervous for our Gold medal match on the final day. But with the support of all the other WA coaches, athletes and parents during our game, the girls got the job done. It felt amazing to walk away as champions.” Sadler added.
Congratulations to all 70 athletes and 16 support staff who once again made the Volleyball WA community proud.