Victorian Country Championship Commission
The 2019 Volleyball Victoria Country Championships were hosted by Bendigo Volleyball Association over the Queens Birthday Long weekend, 8-10 June 2019. Eight courts were used throughout the weekend, including the new 4000 seat, air-conditioned extension of Bendigo Stadium.. Thirty-five teams, four more than last year, competed in six divisions, nineteen men and sixteen women.
The event ran smoothly, despite many four and five-set matches during the weekend. Medal presentations for Division 2 & 3 were conducted following each match, which was appreciated by the participants. However, the Division One finals and presentation ceremony lacked the required organization and presentation standard. Clearly, it is not possible to expect one person to handle the workload of Competition and Presentation Managers, which ended up being the case this year, however, John Sheen must be acknowledged for the work he and his small team put into this event, without which, it simply would not have happened.
Six sponsors supported the event, providing financial security with no increase in entry fees. A sincere thank you is extended to the sponsors for their support of regional volleyball.
The Volleyball Victoria Country Championships Commission again oversaw the organization of the event, providing guidance and support in the presentation of the premier event in regional Victoria. The upgraded and mobile compliant VVCCC website was instrumental in capturing team entries and player and referee registration details prior to the event. The Regulations, newsletters, competition schedule and accommodation details were all displayed on the site prior to the event, with completed results progressively updated throughout the weekend.
Special attention was given this year to ensuring all statutory requirements of the regulations were complied with, in an attempt to minimize the number of penalties applied. It is unfortunate this effort was not rewarded, as a large number of penalties were applied. This indicates more attention needs to be given to organizing teams by associations.
A comprehensive championship program was produced, and score sheets were all pre-printed with full team lists. A tournament Jury supervised a range of matches in each division throughout the weekend.The Commission, in conjunction with Volleyball Victoria, offered a Victorian Masters division in conjunction with CC’19. With only three entries, the division was cancelled.
This year was the 50th Victorian Country Championship, with the first ever hosted by Bendigo in the former YMCA two-court Stadium. Appreciation is extended to the Bendigo Volleyball Association for recognizing this milestone with a function on the Saturday evening.
Volleyball Victoria must be acknowledged for their on-going assistance in supporting the appointment of a Technical Delegate, which ensures the Regulations are consistently implemented. VVI also supports the appointment of a Referee Delegate who manages the referee panel and provides support and feedback to referees during the weekend. The provision of independent and highly qualified referees for all division one matches and finals, contributes significantly in raising the standard of matches and provides the opportunity for all participants to observe the latest officiating techniques and interpretations of the rules.
Women’s Division Three saw Bendigo take the Bronze medal, after losing their preliminary final to Geelong, 22-25, 21-25, 18-25. The Gold medal was won by Sunraysia over Geelong, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16, 26-24.
In Women’s Division Two, Sunraysia defeat South Gippsland to capture the Bronze medal, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-18. The Gold medal was won by Maffra, after a valiant comeback from 2 sets down against South West Pirates, 18-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-14, 15-10
The Women’s Division One Bronze medal was won by Horsham after a classic five-set struggle against South Gippsland, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 15-11. The Gold medal was won by Bendigo, reversing last year’s result over Latrobe Valley 22-25, 25-23, 25-12, 25-8.
The All-Star Sevens are as follows:
Division Three – Tanya Kiirua-Gill & Lipine Tavo (Sunraysia), Emma Jarvis & Amanda Yeo (Geelong), Sian King (Bendigo), Best Setter: Olivia Walklate (Bendigo) and Best Libero: Darian King (Bendigo).
Division Two – Gabby Lougheed (South West Pirates), Zoe Smith (Sunraysia), Bridie Williamson & Mikayla Underwood (Maffra), Alexandra Scott (South Gippsland), Best Setter: Kilby Todd (Bendigo), Best Libero: Amy Nairn (Sunraysia).
Division One – Elsie Rogers, Emma Regan and Sheridan Olsen (Bendigo), Alice Shaw (Latrobe Valley), Brooke Freckleton (Horsham), Best Setter: Laura Roberts and Best Libero: Holley Eason (Bendigo).
In Men’s Division Three, Bellarine defeated South Gippsland to take the Bronze medal in four sets, 25-23, 25-18, 16-25, 25-16. The Gold medal was won by Bendigo in a nail biting encounter with Geelong, 24-26, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-13.
The Men’s Division Two Bronze medal was won by Bendigo in a tight three-set encounter over Horsham, 29-27, 25-22, 25-19. The Gold medal saw Latrobe Valley defeat regional neighbors Bairnsdale in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-15.
In Men’s Division One, Horsham defeated last year’s champions, Latrobe Valley, to earn a place in the gold medal match, leaving Latrobe with the bronze medal, 25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18. Horsham then went on to defeat hosts and medal favorites, Bendigo, in straight sets, 25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18.
The All-Star Seven awards are as follows:
Division Three – Michael Axford (South Gippsland), Karl Mahr (Bellarine), Leo Lee & Kway Maw Htoo (Geelong), Trafara Mahindura (Bendigo, Best Setter: Jacob DeSalvo, Best Libero: Gary Mullins (Bendigo).
Division Two – Johnathon Knight (Bairnsdale), Nathan Berry (Horsham), Joey Rodda (Latrobe Valley), Brendon Tomoda (South Gippsland), Lucas Lu (Maffra), Best Setter: Evan Jenkins (Bendigo) and Best Libero: Liam Clegg (Bendigo).
Division One –Ashby Smith (Sunraysia), Matt Gordon (Bendigo), Cam Robinson (Horsham), Will Crawford & Adam Robinson (Latrobe Valley), Best Setter: Matthew Berry (Horsham) and Best Libero: Josh Gordon (Bendigo).
The 2020 Country Championship are scheduled for South Gippsland.