Volleyballers block rivals

By PAUL CHAMBERS

ORARA High School open girls' volleyball team are the North Coast champions for the fourth time in five years.

Having beaten Grafton and Coffs High in previous rounds the team defeated Wauchope High School last month to take out the Steve Birt Memorial Shield and with it the regional title.

The girls now travel to Sydney on June 29-30 to participate in the final 16 round of the NSW Championships, at Olympic Park, Homebush the venue for the volleyball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Coach Kim Harland was full of praise for the team's performances and is optimistic of their chances in Sydney.

"More than 300 schools started out in this competition, so for a school such as ours to qualify for the last 16 is a great achievement and a huge credit to this group of girls who are fantastic to work with," Harland said.

"At the recent State Volleyball Championships the North Coast team, which included three of our girls, defeated the Sydney East team who will be our opponents in our first game at Homebush, so we are hopeful we can repeat that sort of performance."

The team trains once a week at Sportz Central and the girls fit in this training around schoolwork and many other sporting commitments, including basketball and netball.

The two most experienced players in the team are Eden Conklin,the captain, and Nicole Clague, who was awarded the MVP at the regional final.

Both of these girls are playing in their third season of volleyball at the school, and are very much looking forward to competing in their second NSW Finals in the last three years.

"I really enjoy playing volleyball, it is something different from playing Basketball for the Suns in the State League, and I am really looking forward to going to Sydney it is a really fun weekend down there," Conklin said.

While the girls are excited about playing in Sydney they know it will be tough, as the standard of the teams they will be playing against is a big step up from the level they have been playing at up until now.

"We know the competition will be tough because we are playing some very good teams, but we are hopeful of achieving our aim which is to win at least a couple of games down there," Clague said.



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