IT was a case of third time lucky for Yarra Ranges’ women’s side at Warrnambool’s Annual Seaside Volleyball Tournament.
After consecutive defeats in the women’s honours competition, Yarra Ranges capped an undefeated weekend with a hard-fought victory in four sets over Adelaide side Austral Phoenix.
Yarra Ranges overcame a slow start to win the club’s third Seaside title and first since 2009 with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-9, 25-22 result.
Coach Steve Holder, who has overseen the club’s other two victories, was relieved his new-look side had conquered Seaside.
“It’s a completely different group,” he said.
“There were four left from the last two years and the rest were new so there was no baggage.”
“There was an unbelievable belief in the way they played and in each other.” Holder said poor serving cost his side in the opening set, missing as many as five, gifting Austral points.
But they found their range and turned the momentum in the second set before the decisive third-set rout.
Holder said his young side, which had an average age of about 17, had been consistent across the weekend. The closest it came to a loss was a draw against three-time defending champion Heidelberg.
He said his side’s strength was its depth in the final.
“We knew Austral would be tired because they had their main six and they were on the court most of the time across the weekend. I could play any six and I knew we would stay the same.”
Holder said the victory was a little surprising.
“We only selected the teams last week and had two trainings together.”
He said Yarra Ranges had traditionally used the tournament as a warm-up to the state league season, which begins this weekend.
Captain, passer/hitter Alison Youlten, who was named the most valuable player in the division, was excited with the result. The 19-year-old was part of the club’s two previous defeats at the tournament.
“This is the first time we’ve all played together,” she said.
“We brought a different team. This year we were really young. I’m one of the oldest where last year I was one of the youngest.”