Champions Crowned at Australian Junior Volleyball Titles
The Australian Junior Volleyball Champions came to a close in Sydney today, with teams battling it out for the titles of the best U19 and U23 indoor volleyball teams in Australia.
With teams coming from right around Australia, plus international teams from New Zealand and America, it’s been three days of jam-packed volleyball action at the Sydney Olympic park.
There was a wide spread of champions, with gold medals being awarded to teams from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New Zealand.
In the final match of the day, the Queensland Suns defeated NSW in the men’s U23 gold-medal match 3:2 (25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 15-10).
QLD’s Connor O’Neill said the atmosphere at Sydney Olympic Park on Finals day really elevated the team’s performance.
“It’s so awesome to win the gold, and the energy from the crowd just made it unreal for us today,” O’Neill said.
“Being able to play with a great team and have the success that we’ve had over the last three days has been fantastic.
“It’s awesome to be back playing with everyone from around the country after a break because of COVID, and a big thanks to Volleyball Australia for putting on an awesome event.”
The Women’s U23 division gold medal match was another very close contest between the KVA Future Stars Volleyball Academy from Victoria and the Western Australia state team.
The five-set marathon finally came to a close with the KVA’s securing the win 3:2 (25-15, 21-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13).
As a new team, the captain of the KVA’s, Jemma Stokes said the team were really pleased with the win
“I’m super proud of the girls, a bit of a mixed bunch we threw together at the last minute, but it feels good to come out on top and get the win,” Stokes said.
“There’s only three of us at the top age limit, so I know KVA will look to put in another team next year, and hopefully the girls come back and win again.”
After topping their Pool in the Women’s U19 Division, the New Zealand White team defeated their compatriots, the NZL Black team in the semifinals, before facing South Australia in the final.
The Kiwis put on a dominant display, securing the victory 3:1 (25-9, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18).
Captain of the NZL White Team, Kiana Stevenson, said the team were really proud of their first victory together.
“We’re all so excited and proud of each other to have won the gold medal. This is our first tournament together as a team so it’s awesome,” she said.
Stevenson, who is aiming to represent New Zealand at the 2025 Asian Championships, said she’s loved coming to Australia for her international debut.
“The highlight of the competition was playing all the different teams,” she said.
“I’ve never played indoor volleyball internationally before, so it was awesome to see how Australia play indoor volleyball compared to New Zealand. There were a few differences, but the overall game is similar.”
In the fight for the Men’s U19 title, it was another five-set thriller, with South Australia taking on New South Wales.
SA came out firing to win the first two sets, before NSW bounced back to claim the second two. The fifth set was point for point, before SA eventually edged in front to win 3:2 (25-16, 25-16, 21-25, 21-25, 15-12).
“It feels really good, we had the first two sets and then NSW came back, it was pretty stressful but we pushed through in the end and we got the win, so I’m really happy with that,” South Australia’s Izumo Ueda said.
“Other than the gold, the highlight for me has been coming together with guys from my state, and just having a good trip with my friends.”
See all results from the 2022 Australian Junior Volleyball Championships HERE: