Close grand finals decide volleyball titles
Albany Volleyball Association wrapped up its 2017 season with grand finals across all divisions last week at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre, including the hotly contested men’s and women’s premier league deciders.
Held last Friday night, the men’s premier league grand final pitted perennial finalists Just The Tip against this year’s leaders Freeballerz and the first set did not disappoint.
In a frenetic start, Freeballerz raced out to a six-point lead, only to see this evaporate and find themselves down by the same margin in a short space of time.
The game took a dramatic shift in the final stages of the first set, however, when key Just the Tip member Gary McGlade rolled his ankle and was unable to take any further part in the game.
Down to five players, Just the Tip produced a gallant effort for the rest of the game but they were gradually worn down by the solid Freeballerz unit, who went on to win the match in four sets, 3-1.
Just The Tip’s Brendan Crudeli was named most valuable player in the decider.
The women’s premier league decider was an outstanding game between North Albany Senior High School and That’s What She Set.
Both teams displayed outstanding skills, with strong spiking and defensive plays a key to the battle.
NASHS were able to win the first and third set, while That’s What She Set won the second and fourth sets to leave the score tied up, as the final neared two hours in duration when the fifth and final set began.
Both teams worked hard to establish a lead but changed ends with only one point separating them.
On the back of some strong serving from Samira Williams and powerful spiking by Niomi Vanleeuwen, NASHS won the fifth set to help guide them to the title, 3-2, with Vanleeuwen named MVP.
Meanwhile in the other grand finals held on Wednesday night last week, Spiked Punch, a team from UWA Albany, had led the competition throughout the year and were far too strong for 2 Leggit to Hit in the mixed social decider.
In the mixed competitive final, Bohica took on the Pancakes and the game quickly became a hitting bonanza.
The honours were evenly shared in the first two sets, and the match progressed to the shortened third set but Bohica quickly got off to a fast start thanks to some strong serving, and comfortably won the set despite a late run.
In the juniors, NASHS had been the competition leaders throughout the season, but they found themselves behind early in the match against Great Southern Grammar.
A late rally enabled them to close the gap, but GSG were good enough to win the first set and then NASHS came out firing in the second set, establishing an early lead they would not relinquish.
The last set was a seesawing affair, but GSG were able to break away late in the closing stages and came away with the win.
GSG’s Ben Brown was awarded MVP in the grand final.
After another successful indoor season, attention now turns to beach volleyball, which begins next month for juniors, seniors and mixed competitions.
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