REPRESENTATIVE volleyball squad South West Pirates has defied fatigue and limited preparation to clinch a regional title.
The Pirates defeated Riddells Creek in a five-set epic to claim the honours in division two at the 19th Volleyball Horsham tournament.
A 15-10 final set secured the title for the Craig Gibbs-coached side after four see-sawing sets which ended 25-22, 17-25, 27-25, 21-25.
Gibbs said the Pirates entered the final as underdogs after a straight-sets loss to Riddells Creek in the preliminary rounds.
“We weren’t overly confident going into the final. They’re a team of guys who are very experienced, they play together a lot,” he said.
“Mentally and physically everyone became fatigued and it came down to who made the least mistakes. Momentum was swinging every four or five points — we’d get four or five points in front and they’d come back and we’d win the set.”
The Pirates, who represent the Warrnambool Volleyball Association, had a 5-1 record after the preliminary matches.
Their sole loss in the sixth match could have dented the players’ confidence ahead of the final, but they held firm as the tournament decider went down to the wire.
Key spiker Sam Sturgess was the most valuable player in division two and, with Gibbs and Rob Bright, led the Pirates all weekend.
Youngsters James Holland, 18, and Chris Roberts, 13, also played their roles in the victory.
“Our attack was not as good as I thought it would be and our defence was better than I thought it’d be,” Gibbs said.
The Pirates will enjoy a break before resuming training in January for the Warrnambool Seaside Tournament in March.