Canberra Brought the Heat to Take AVL Trophy Back to ACT
After four years of minor medals, the Canberra Heat are bringing the Men’s Australian Volleyball League (AVL) trophy back home to the ACT after defeating the Adelaide Storm in an epic five-set battle at Carrara Indoor Stadium on the Gold Coast.
In a two-hour marathon that went down to the wire, it was Captain Andre Borgeaud’s team who secured the win 3:2 (25-18, 21-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13).
“It’s been a long time coming,” confirmed Borgeaud. “There’s a lot of relief at the end of it, and excitement, I feel speechless really.”
Borgeaud made his debut for the Heat as a 17-year-old in 2004, and 2022 marks his ninth season with the team, but the first time winning gold.
“We’ve been here so many times! Canberra won in 2011 and 2015 but for myself to finally get a win and at 35 is really exciting.
“Maybe we’ll think about hanging up the boots eventually, but we’ll give it six months and see,” he joked.
Canberra Head Coach Ben Hardy said this win meant a lot to the team, especially to the Heat veterans who have a collection of silver medals at the hands of the Queensland Pirates over the past decade.
“It really could have gone either way, it was such an exciting match and to have a fifth set go down to the wire like that with some massive plays, it’s an excellent outcome for us,” Hardy said.
“It means a lot to our older guys who have gone through that period, often coming second, so there are some emotional guys in there who’ve been on the receiving end, mostly from Queensland over that period of time, so they’re really happy for this one.”
The Men’s bronze medal match was a similarly extremely physical match, with the WA Steel denying the QLD pirates an AVL medal for the first time in eight consecutive years, winning 3:1 (26-28, 25-16, 26-24, 25-23) in front of a huge crowd on the Gold Coast.
Queensland had three match points before they were able to secure the opening set 28-26, but the Steel opened up a 10-point gap in the second set to swing the momentum in their favour for the remainder of the game.
Middle blocker José Martínez, a Rio 2016 Mexican Olympian who has relocated from Victoria to live in Western Australia, was a dominant force for the Steel, helping control the centre, denying QLD and breakaway points.
“I’m feeling really ecstatic, really proud of the boys,” WA captain Kable Monck said.
“We were disappointed to not make the gold medal match yesterday but we really wanted to win that bronze after the loss and coming away with bronze shows the efforts we’ve put in all season and I think we really deserved it.”