Aldridge takes national titles

THE BOYS from Aldridge State High School’s volleyball team can now call themselves the best in Australia.

The team competed in the week-long Australian Volleyball Championships in Melbourne and went through the competition undefeated, winning the final in straight sets.

The victory was especially sweet after the teams were runners-up in the tournament last year.

While that was a great achievement, coach Rob Thiele said the team wanted to come home with gold instead of silver this year after being a “little disappointed” by last year’s result.

The team qualified for the national event by winning a Queensland schools tournament, defeating teams with players that were up to a year older than themselves.

It wasn’t an easy road to the final for the Aldridge side – they competed against several quality sides.

They defeated Maznod, the top Victorian team and the team from Trinity Anglican College, the top team in Western Australia.

They then took on Heathfield, from South Australia, in the final.

They won the match 25-19, 25-9 and 25-16 and only dropped three sets during the whole tournament.

Thiele said he couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of his team.

“It was really great – they did really, really well.

“I am really proud of their achievements.

“It’s been a couple of years in the making and it’s a just reward for all the hours they have put in.”

The team, which included Nathan Brake, Jett Nickson, Frank Richmond, Darren McPhee, Karl Christensen and Alec Higgins, has been playing together for three years and Thiele is hoping they will return to the national competition next year and defend their title in the open division.

Next year the team will compete in the open honours division and will not only play against teams from other states but from New Zealand as well.

Thiele couldn’t single out any of his players for individual praise – he said everyone in the side made a huge contribution towards winning the competition.

“They were just fantastic across the board.”

Another Aldridge team also competed in the national titles this year, taking part in the 14 years boys competition.

That team also did well, finishing in sixth position.

“It was their first time competing at nationals,” Thiele said yesterday.

“They’ve learned heaps.”

‘They were just fantastic across the board’

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