The trip started off with an early 6am morning at the Adelaide Airport. Once on the Gold Coast, the Sunday was used as a day for us to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for a long week of Volleyball ahead. The tournament started with a convincing loss against a strong Brisbane team that reinforced the strength of competition was higher than our state league. We would need to play at our best at all times to be competitive. Going into our second game against Pulteney the scoreboard reflected our energy, leading to a big win against a rival SA school. Unfortunately, this energy did not translate over into the following morning as we lost to Hills Grammar due to a lack lustre team performance.
With finals clearly the team goal, we had to start winning games, so our focus shifted towards building team culture through playing hacky sack and spending more time together off-court.
After a nail-biting victory on Tuesday night against a strong team our chemistry was bolstered, and we began to have more confidence as a team. This was evident on Wednesday as we played two fantastic games of volleyball resulting in a record of 4-2. Our goal of reaching the semi-finals was getting closer, we just had to remain focused and continue to strengthen our team culture.
Throughout the second half of the trip players began to really feel the conditions of the Gold Coast. The heat and humidity, lack of sleep, and the constant exercise hit some members of the team hard, as players started breaking down with illness. This made it difficult for the team as some players couldn’t perform at their best. The sicknesses led to three players having to sit out of what could have been an easily won game, which resulted in the team’s third lost through the round robin competition. Fortunately for the team we had already made it through to the semi-final by that point and player management became vital.
The semi-final was a tough match-up against the eventual gold medallists (a team we had lost to previously), however this time the boys looked much more determined. Saints led the first set until the 15-point mark; at which point our opponents took over and clenched their spot in the main final. The semi-final loss taught the boys a great deal and the focus quickly shifted to the bronze medal match the following day.
Throughout the bronze medal match you could see the camaraderie and the teamwork built throughout the previous six days transcending into match play. The team had peaked at the perfect time. The bronze medal was won through sheer determination and passion for Volleyball as the week finally took a toll on the players physical capabilities. The staff (Pierce Cordes-Harvey, Mr Cuevas and Mr Papazoglou) pushed the boys to excel and move past the tough losses and hard times throughout the week. Their support and efforts were greatly appreciated by the whole team. The squad would like to thank the School for supporting the trip and our parents for the experience, but most importantly each other, as the memories on the trip can be considered life long and will be talked about for many years to come.
Co-Captain of Volleyball