Eagles soar to successive Warrnambool volleyball championships

EAGLES have claimed back-to-back Warrnambool Volleyball Association division one championships.

The seven-member squad completed a clean sweep against Sea Cats in the top-grade decider at The Arc on Tuesday night.

The 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 victory came despite the efforts of Sea Cats’ Martin Van Rooy, who earned most valuable player honours.

Eagles captain Daniel Hand said the win was hard-earned by his side, which lost players in the off-season as officials sought to even up the competition.

Hand, Cameron Pyke, Tom Beks, Ryan Bunney, Michael Beks, Alister Jenkins and Engin Torun made up the successful side.

“This is back-to-back for us. Before that I played in five or six grand finals and lost every one,” Hand said.

The victory came after Eagles went through the regular season undefeated but lost to Sea Cats in the second semi-final.

Hand conceded his men were “a bit cocky” entering finals but regrouped. He lauded the efforts of centre blocker Pyke in the final.

“We managed to get a lot of balls through the middle to Pykey, which they couldn’t counteract because they didn’t have the centre blockers,” he said.

“It was his size and we were running a lot of quick balls. And we probably played the percentages more than we have.”

Sea Cats’ defeat had a silver lining, with Luke Hoy claiming the division one best-and-fairest award for a consistent season.

In other grades, the division two grand final went down to the wire, with Pirates defeating The Crew in a five-set thriller.

The premiers dropped the second and third sets but stormed home to win 25-22, 23-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-12, the closest match of the night.

Umpires declared The Crew’s Rick Bayne the most valuable player, while best-and-fairest honours went to Pirates stalwart Eleanor Collins.

Raiders defeated Stingrays 25-23, 25-22, 15-25, 25-17 in the division three grand final. Stingrays’ Bec Cain was the most valuable player.

WVA division co-ordinator Anthony Smith said 14 sides contested the summer season — five in division one and nine in division two.

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