College volleyball more than simply winning

By James Perry

Hundreds of Auckland school-aged volleyball players have gathered in Takanini this week for the junior championships.

While it may be a competition, for some there is more to it than simply winning.

Genevieve Taua of Mt Albert Grammar School says, "Sometimes you meet your cousins that you don't even know are your cousins.  But yeah, it's a really fun experience and I'm really happy I get to do it two years in a row."

Around 50 Auckland secondary schools have assembled at Takanini for the junior volleyball championships. 

Another Mt Albert student, Aleisha Vaaelua says going up against so many schools helps her team to develop the chemistry which could help them win. 

For some, like Aorere College's Olivia Vaipulu (Ngāpuhi, Tonga), competing at the tournament is a new experience.  She says she hasn't been daunted by playing against and in front of so many people.  She has found the experience enjoyable. 

"I just like the game. I like spiking, diving and, yeah, basically everything."

For these students, the tournament is a great way of developing skills in other sports, as well as helping in the classroom.

Taua, who has played competitive volleyball for around four years, says netball is actually her main sport but she has learned a lot from volleyball.  In particular learning how to play as team.  She adds that seeing different schools and techniques also helps, "You learn a lot from different people."

As for Vaaelua, she says playing sport has helped her keep focus in the classroom, saying, "It's a two way thing. I do sports, I do work as well."

The finals for the competition will take place tomorrow in Takanini, South Auckland.