Volleyballers go head to head for top state honours

The state's best young volleyball players have battled it out at the 2024 Combined High Schools titles. Julee Brienen reports.

A team of volleyball players with their coach. A team of volleyball players with their coach.
Image: The victorious Sydney North Girls team with coach Graeme Lowe.

The state’s top public school indoor volleyball regions were decided after three days of hotly contested competition at the NSW Combined High Schools (CHS) Secondary Volleyball Tournament in Bomaderry late last month.

Sydney regions dominated in the boy’s event, with Sydney East up against Sydney South-West in final. In the girl’s competition, North Coast and South Coast teams battled for a place in the final against Sydney North.

In the boy’s tournament, Sydney East was the dominant team throughout the competition, not dropping a set, and easily accounted for Sydney South-West in two sets, 21-17 and 21-7, in the final.

In the girl’s tournament, Sydney North defeated North Coast in two tightly contested sets, 21-16 and 21-19, to win the gold medal match.

A team of male volleyball players with their coach. A team of male volleyball players with their coach.
Image: Sydney East Boys' team with coach Deb Bolton.

The tournament’s male Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Sydney East Captain, Scott Sevilla from Kingsgrove North High School, said the team’s outstanding coach, Deb Bolton, and the energy of the players were leading factors in their victory.

“The guys on this team could all be national players they are so good,” he said.

“There was so much good energy from all the players.”

“Deb is a really amazing coach, she cares about all the players, she pushes us all really hard to be better.”

Ms Bolton, from Tempe High School, said the team was determined to win.

“We had some tight games, but never lost a set,” she said.

“Everyone worked hard in preparing for this tournament. The last three years we have had insanely good teams and we’ve also had past players come back and help prepare the group.

“Volleyball is really growing in NSW, and we had more than 40 boys trialling for this team. This year’s team is probably the most diverse we’ve had, from many different schools and shows the depth we had to choose from.”

A volleyball team with its coaches. A volleyball team with its coaches.
Image: The 2024 NSW Combined High Schools girls' team.

Sydney North Captain and tournament MVP, Ruby Hannah Jones from Northern Beaches Secondary College - Mackellar Girls Campus, said she was proud of her team.

“Our team from the first day gelled amazingly,” she said.

“I’ve never been on a team like this. We trained well together, we had the best time together, eating together, hanging out in each other’s rooms, getting ready together, and it showed on the court and that’s how I think we got ahead of everyone else.”

The team’s coach, Graeme Lowe from Normanhurst Boys High School, said he had a good feeling from the trials.

“The quality of girls at the trial was so high, that I had an inkling we would have a very strong team this year,” he said.

“There wasn’t a position that didn’t have a strong player.

“The girls were happy on and off the court and had a great time together. They played so well on court.

“We lost a couple of players due to injury, but the depth of the team was so good that we could replace those players.”

The team lost just one game on its way to the title.

“I think that loss gave the girls a bit of fire in their belly, and they were more determined to win the final,” Graeme said.

“Ruby really delivered and kept the girls upbeat throughout the tournament. After 20 years of coaching in this tournament, I’m retiring, so it was a really great way to go out.”

Tournament organiser, Alexander McLellan from Epping Boys High School, said the 2024 championships had been hugely successful, with the skill level of volleyball players across NSW schools showing significant improvement.

“Volleyball is a COVID safe sport, so many schools and students have increased their playing of the game and as a result the interest and ability has increased,” he said.

“I love seeing the growth of student’s abilities in volleyball from year to year. Some students have been attending CHS volleyball events for three to four years and seeing them want to come back and represent their school and regions gives me great pride in a sport I am so passionate about.”

After the finals, the excitement continued with the announcement of the Boys and Girls NSW CHS Volleyball Teams to represent the state’s public high schools at the All-Schools Quad tournament in June.

A volleyball team with coaches. A volleyball team with coaches.
Image: The 2024 NSW Combined High Schools boys' team.

2024 NSW CHS Volleyball Boys Squad

  • Jy Howe - Orana HS, North Coast
  • Karan Dahiya - Sydney Boys HS, Sydney East
  • Felix Chang - Kingsgrove North HS. Sydney East
  • Jeremiah Faavae - James Busby HS, Sydney South-West
  • Mobin Shafeian - Ryde SC, Sydney North
  • Eric Bui - Tempe HS, Sydney East
  • Matthew Lorenzo - The Ponds HS, Sydney West
  • Adax Brienen - Woonona HS, South Coast
  • Amarlin Altanshagai - Ryde SC, Sydney North
  • Scott Sevilla - Kingsgrove North HS, Sydney East
  • Coach Robert Tram - Lurnea HS, Sydney South-West
  • Manager Aaron McElhinney - Oran Park HS, Sydney South-West

For final placings, scores and awards for the boy’s competition visit https://app.education.nsw.gov.au/sport/Events/ViewResults?eventId=15939

2024 NSW CHS Volleyball Girls Squad

  • Mireille Smith - Nowra HS, South Coast
  • Sammantha Lesk - NSBC Mackellar Girls, Sydney North
  • Taneisha Jones - Wauchope HS, North Coast
  • Melinda Xia - Baulkham Hills HS, Sydney West
  • Ayen Nyuar - Doonside Technology, Sydney West
  • Sautaulasi (Lasi) Heron - Rooty Hill HS, Sydney West
  • Samera Moon - Carlingford HS, Sydney North
  • Aimee Lamb - Dorrigo HS, North Coast
  • Eliza Titley - Ryde SC, Sydney North
  • Ruby Jones - NSBC Mackellar Girls, Sydney North
  • Amarlie Evans - Wauchope HS, North Coast
  • Coach Steve Clayworth - Wauchope HS, North Coast
  • Manager Connor Klaassan - Wauchope  HS, North Coast

For final placings, scores and awards for the girl’s competition visit https://app.education.nsw.gov.au/sport/Events/ViewResults?eventId=15946

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