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New Zealand Junior Secondary School Championships conclude successfully

Over 1,000 people were in attendance at the school championships, which saw Manurewa High School Girls and Westlake Boys High School earned the Championship titles

Wellington, New Zealand, December 1, 2013 - Volleyball New Zealand Junior Secondary School Championships, one of the premier school sports festivals in the country, successfully came to an end in Tauranga and Christchurch.

The Championships were divided into two sections for the North Island and South Island. The North Island Championships took place at the ASB Baypark Arena in Mount Maunganui, which ended on November 30, with a field of 49 girls' and 42 boys' teams participating. Down south, the Island event was played in Christchurch at the Pioneer Stadium, and Middleton Grange school, with 39 girls' and 22 boy's teams in action from November 25 to 28.

In the finals of the 30th North Island Junior Volleyball championships on Friday, in front of over 1,000 very loud fans, Manurewa High School Girls and Westlake Boys High School earned the Championship titles.

The Manurewa High School Girls defeated Otumoetai College 2-1 (25-17, 18-25, 15-11) in the final. Manurewa took the first set comfortably, but the roles reversed in the second when Otumoetai built momentum towards the end on the back of some good post spiking from captain Sophie Samson.

In the tie-breaker third set, Otumoetai got out to an early lead on the back of some Manurewa errors, but some inspiring blocking by their tall middle players Carnation Fahamokia and captain Gail Taumafai turned the tide and gave the northern team the confidence to attack from all positions around the court. Fittingly, the final point of the game was won by a powerful, clean middle hit by Taumafai, the tournament MVP.

The Westlake Boys High School came from behind to beat Western Heights High School 2-1 (20-25, 25-12, 15-7) to take out the Boys' first division title.

Despite dropping the first set to their rivals, Westlake went into the second set with some great post and attacking hits from captain Greg Vukets, coupled with accurate passing and enough middle hitting to put their opponents in two minds about the direction the ball was coming from, giving them the set 25-12.

In the tie-breaker third set, Westlake were fired up more than Western Heights whose error rate crept up as the game progressed. The final three points of the match were fittingly won by Vukets with two spikes and a dominant block at the post.

Meanwhile, Nelson College boys and Burnside High Girls were also front and centre as they took the courts for action-packed finals played on Thursday night at Christchurch's Pioneer Stadium.

Although Nelson boys won in two sets (25-22, 25-20), the game was far from clear-cut once their opponents Riccarton High School got into full stride. In the first set, Nelson's Chris Chamberlain lit up the scoreboard early with an 11 point serving run to blow out a lead for the Tasman region side, but Riccarton hit back into contention with tournament MVP Sam Neilsen jump-serving. Nelson managed to regain its composure, with Max Darling working some hit and block magic in the front court to take out the set.

In the second set, Nelson made the first breakthrough with three consecutive blocks to take a good lead. And then with good hitting from Nelson's Zaw Tin and Chris Chamberlain, Nelson expanded their lead and left no more chance to Riccarton, who finally lost the set in 20 -25.

In the girls' final, Burnside High School rallied to beat Nelson College Girls 2-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-16). Nelson served well and were able to pick up much of the attacks the Christchurch side sent their way. Although Burnside gained momentum near the end of the set, Nelson managed to take a 1-0 lead.

Burnside immediately turned the tables on Nelson in the next set after some spectacular play, with good hitting and serving by Alice Ziemann to win the set and send the match to a tie-breaker third set.

The 3rd set was dominated by Burnside with MVP Ziemann’s strong serving to secure a quick finish at 25-16.



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