SE side stands tall

By Trevor Jackson

THE South East Volleyball Association is in celebration mode after it claimed a silver medal in the SA Country Championships on the weekend at Murray Bridge.

The team went down to a tough Riverland outfit in the grand final, but faced some stiff opposition to reach the last game of the weekend.

Teams from Gawler, South Adelaide, Henley and suburban Adelaide competed, with the SE team up to the challenge.

Association president Cambell Baker said it was the best result the league had experienced in its short existence.

He said the representative team was a mixed bag as far as experience was concerned.

“Some our more experienced players have been playing on and off for about 10 years, but we had three players who have only been playing for two years and a couple who have played socially for maybe four or five years,” Baker said.

“Some of the teams we faced play two times a week and have played together for years.

“Our team is more about who wants to play – we didn’t even train before we left.

“Our competition is mixed gender, where most of the other teams play in a single gender competition and they train and play together every week.

“The result outweighed the experience and training of the team as a whole.”

Baker said the result was “pretty amazing” considering the experience differential.

He said after a slow start to the weekend, the team improved and by the end were up to the challenge.

While the South East side went down in the main game, Baker said the Riverland team was full of experienced players.

“The Riverland is a very experienced team,” he said.

“Their league has been going for well over 10 years.

“The Loxton and Renmark high schools have specialised volleyball programs, which feed into the representative team.

“If you go away and match it with them you are doing well.

“We matched it with them, but a little bit of power and experience got them over the line.”

The South East league has now commenced finals, in what has become a big competition, with the future of the representative program positive.

“The competition at the moment is booming,” Baker said.

“We have 18 teams – I initially thought if we could get six teams it would be great, but within three years we are up to 18.

“It is a good problem to have because you gain experience and get the quality players to go away and play in the representative competitions.”