For the second successive season familiar foes will face off against each other in the Volleyball Horsham “A” and “B” grade grand finals on Wednesday night.
Second semi final winner Shados Inala and last season’s premiers Volleyroos will do battle in the “A” grade grand final while Waterhammers will be out to defend their title when they meet Von Steiger Bloods in the “B” grade season decider.
Shados Inala has gone through the season undefeated and scored a strong win in the second semi final. Their opponents Volleyroos had to dig deep to defeated Phantoms in the first semi, and then performed a demolition job on Nuggets in the preliminary final to set up a grand final rematch.
Shados Inala have an even spread of talent, with veteran Tim Popple leading the way. He receives great support from pass hitters Jack Hannan and Laelah Robertson, while Will Saligari and Ned Pilmore are two attacking middle blockers. Hannah Whyte controls the offense in her role as setter, while Emily Hannan does what she does best defensively in her role as libero.
Volleyroos will look to captain Nathan Berry to control the offense, and his partnership with the big hitting Jon Fitzgerald and opposite Harry Combe, will go a long way to determining the outcome of this game. The key here will be their defense and this is where Chloe Brown, Shaun Bray and Ash Davidson play a big role. If they can get the ball to Berry, to enable him to make the right choices on attack, and keep the Shados Inala blockers guessing, they are in line to cause an upset.
In “B” grade Von Steiger Bloods recorded a five set win over Waterhammers in the second semi final. Emma Avery has a settled six at her disposal, but the key to their success is the big hitting Adam Harrison and the guile of Leigh Creasey. Young guns Tom Roberts, Nathaniel Leonforte and Pat Pignataro round out an even team.
But the Waterhammers are a team that doesn’t lie down. They know what it takes to win grand finals, having won six in their 12 year history. They have good balance in attack with Andrew Wundke, Chris Baker and Matt Jolly, with Mark Ferguson, Dave McMaster, Michael Schneider and James Forss lending valuable support.
They key will be whether veteran setter Nalaka Vitharana can overcome injury and take his place in the team. Vitharana brings experience and great skill to the team and his availability will be crucial.
Three other preliminary finals to be played on Monday night.
At 5pm the Juniors take to the court with Raiders Black doing battle with Murtoa Geckos, followed at 6pm with the women’s preliminary. In an all Horsham College affair the Thunder take on the young Hotdogs. To round out the night, at 7pm the “C” grade preliminary pits the Saints against the HC Kelsos.
In a true representation of the diversity of participation within Volleyball Horsham, the preliminary finals sees teams from Horsham College, St Brigid’s College, Murtoa College and Holy Trinity Lutheran College all doing battle against each other.