March 20, 2023
For just the second time, and over a decade and a half since their last win in 2007, the Wellington College Senior A volleyball team are College Sport Wellington Regional Tournament boys’ volleyball champions.
The team now heads to NZSS Nationals in Palmerston North over Summer Tournament Week at the end of this month with some confidence, overcoming a well-drilled St Pat’s Silverstream three sets to nil in Saturday’s CSW final at Kilbirnie.
There were no nationals last year because of Covid, but several players in the Senior A team have come a long way since they last competed there in 2021.
“We finished dead last two years ago,” lamented year 13 player Preston Wong.
“We actually won two games but still came last on the final day, so the team is looking forward to going again, where hopefully we can continue to play well and keep improving.”
Preston is referring to the Senior B team that he was part of that brought up the field in the fifth division. The school’s Senior A team was third in Division Four, but still 51st out of 80 teams.
Preston is the setter for the current Wellington College Senior A team and was the tournament MVP at this past weekend’s CSW. “That was a bit of a surprise,” said Preston, “because being a setter I am just trying to assist my teammates.”
Preston is one of several year 13s in the team that started playing together as juniors. “My first tournament was at the end of year 10 at the CSW Junior Tournament, and we came 12th.”
Time spent together on court and growing confidence have been key themes in the team’s recent success, culminating in Saturday’s win over St Pat’s Silverstream in the final.
The team’s captain is year 12 middle blocker Hamish Davenport, who said the team dug deep and played for each all weekend, none more so than in the final against a well-drilled St Pat’s Silverstream side.
“We watched Silverstream play some of their games between our own and we knew they were going to be extremely tough,” said Hamish. “At the start of the final we were very shaky, but we gained momentum and kept out energy high throughout the whole game.”
In the best of five sets, Wellington College won 3-0. They won the first set 25/23 and it was even more nail-biting at the end of the second before winning that 26/24, before taking out the third 25/16.
Earlier on the second day, Wellington College had beaten St Bernard’s College 3-1 in the semi-final. St Bernard’s beat Rongotai College in the 3 v 4 playoff match.
There were three games on Friday, so Wellington College played and beat five schools to win the tournament.
Wellington College’s team comprises a mix of year 13s and year 12s and one year 11. A couple of players have been recent Wellington U17 and U19 reps, while a couple, Shea Bosher and Carisma Faitala, were in the Wellington College McEvedy Shield team that won an eight-peat of titles last week.
The Wellington College A team’s tournament results were:
Captain Hamish and Preston both made the Super 6 Tournament Team, along with players from Silverstream, St Bernard’s and Rongotai.
Hamish also plays hockey, while Preston plays several sports, including badminton, football, table tennis and tennis.
The Wellington College Senior A Volleyball team:
Hamish Davenport (captain), Shea Bosher, Carisma Faitala, Norman Guttenbeil, Tobiah Leifi Shirley, Patrick Morton, Liam Saolele, Noah Saolele, Ty Teau, Orlando Tevita-Manuao, Chekreiy Ung, Preston Wong. Coaches Mr Preston Wong and Mr July Saolele, Manager Mrs Jen Wong and Ms Caitlin Pollock.
The draw and pools for Nationals has yet to be confirmed, but as top Wellington qualifier, Wellington College are seeded seventh, behind the leading three Bay of Plenty schools, two from North Harbour and one from Manukau Auckland.
St Mary’s College won the girls tournament, beating Sacred Heart College in the final, with Hutt Valley High School third and Naenae College fourth.
There were 23 Boys teams entered, across two divisions and 25 Girls teams. Paraparaumu College (Boys) and Samuel Marsden Collegiate (Girls) won the Division 2 titles.
Super 6 Tournament Teams