Western Australia’s state volleyball teams made history this month when both appeared at the national finals in Melbourne for the first time.
Coached by Rossmoyne volleyball player Matt Hender, the WA Hornets male side entered the Australian Volleyball League final on December 3 against Queensland Pirates after finishing on top in the regional Southern Conference league against Adelaide, Victorian Volleyball Academy and Melbourne University.
Mr Hender, the youngest coach in the Australian Volleyball League, said he was proud of the team’s achievement despite losing 3-0 to Queensland.
“We faced the Queensland Pirates, a team that has played together for many years and their experience playing together was too strong for us on the day,” he said.
“I am really excited for the future of the Hornets and look forward to what 2018 holds for the team.”
The WA Pearls women’s side also made it to the final after finishing second to Melbourne University in its own competition.
The Pearls faced MU again in the final but lost 3-0.
Despite the loss, the finals appearance was an improvement for the Pearls over their 2016 season in which they finished fourth.
Coach Mandy Combes said the squad had done well to fight back from early-season wobbles.
“Our team had a minor setback at the start of our finals campaign with an injury but the girls were ready for the final game,” she said.
“The Uni Blues were really aggressive due to their experience playing together as repeat champions.
“All the girls put in a great effort and I am very proud of the team.”
Volleyball WA executive director Robyn Kuhl congratulated the teams on their achievement.
“We are incredibly proud of both of the Volleyball WA Hornets and Pearls teams,” she said.