Beach volleyballers off to nationals

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Waimea College’s top beach volleyball players have been experiencing a spike in their training intensity leading up to this weekend’s national secondary school’s beach volleyball championships at Mt Maunganui.

Waimea is sending five of the six Nelson pairs heading to the championships and last week they completed a lengthy preparation for nationals with a two-day training camp at Tahunanui Beach. Now coach Josh Ovsenek is hoping all the hard work will pay off for the players when they hit the beach at Mt Maunganui on Saturday.

“They have been training three times as week for the last month and we finished off their preparation with the two-day camp,” Josh says. “These pairs have also been playing in all the tournaments over summer so they have had plenty of practise.”

Although there are similarities between the indoor and beach versions of the game, Josh says the players needed all the extra training to practise the skills that are specific to beach volleyball.

“The beach court is eight by eight (metres) which is not a lot smaller than the nine by nine indoor so you need really good ball control. There’s also a few technical skills that are required for beach so we’ve been focusing on those over the last month.”

Josh says the standard of competition will be high at the champs although he still expects Waimea’s teams to perform well.

“We have a very strong volleyball programme at Waimea so our teams will be competitive. A few of senior players did well at nationals last year and our two junior girls teams should finish in the top eight.”

Matt Heyward and Tane McDonald will be making their senior debut after finishing third in the junior section last year while the talented Holly Chandler teams up with Ellie MacIntyre in the senior girls. Charles Ching and Luca van Wahlert are also entered in the senior boys with Flo MacIntyre and Harriet Ogilvie and Grace Young and Alex Bloomberg lining up in the junior girls.

Nelson College for Girls Tali Uia and Nadja Baden are playing in the senior girls after winning the junior title last year.