Our Melbourne Vipers women’s team have taken home the Gold medal in the Women’s Australian Volleyball Super League competition. This continues the winning streak for Victorian Women’s volleyball with the Uni Blues having won the previous six.The Vipers defeated the Queensland Pirates in a thrilling battle 3:2 (20-25, 28-30, 25-16, 25-15, 15-12).
The Vipers got off to a rocky start missing too many serves. Coach Michael Brookens felt the game plan was working but were shooting themselves in the foot by not applying service pressure and missing serves. The difference in the match was cleaning up the service errors, being disciplined in the team beliefs, and an unbelievable performance by Alissa Kinkela. Kelly Lean orchestrated one of the best offensive team performances of the year. Coming from two sets down in a championship is an epic achievement especially against a great team like Queensland. Coach Michael Brookens stated “Nothing this year has come easy for us. But I can honestly say every player on our roster got us here. This was a special team that had a special season that will never be forgotten.”
Vipers Women won their semi-final match against Adelaide Storm 3:1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-16).
Our Melbourne Vipers men’s won the bronze medal defeating UTSSU Shield in a close 5 setter. Vipers won the game 3:2 (25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 21-25, 18-16).
In the men’s semi-final the Vipers went down in a close match against Canberra Heat. (32-30, 25-16, 29-27).
Day 1 we saw potentially one of the better 3-0 games you’ll ever see, to go so deep in 2 of the 3 sets was such a disappointment for all of us. It was impressive to see some unbelievable performances from Jose Martinez, Martin Kaufer, and Ben Abbott. We gave ourselves a chance to be in the game but just couldn’t quite take it to Canberra’s credit they played some unbelievable volleyball.
Forwarding on to Day 2, we spoke about how we felt 3-0 against Canberra wasn’t a fair reflection of where the game was at or how we played. However, we also knew if we didn’t come out and beat UTSSU we knew we had no right to have thoughts like that. We came out with a hot start, led by Linford Bennett and Nick Boesten, we surged to a 1-0 lead. Trailing 23-17 we thought it was all over, and up stepped Harry McBean serving to a 24-23 advantage, he was ably supported with some big stuff blocks and defensive digs from the crew around him. With a massive props to players who came off the bench, Johnny Dal Santo, Jimmy Carlyle-Shelton and Mitch Broom, we took our moment and took the set.
UTSSU showed some great spirit and we thought after being up 2-0 in the rounds and UTSSU came out on top, we were never letting that happen again. Our defensive work rate allowed our offence to flourish and to come out on top was an amazing feeling, credit to all involved to come away with a Bronze Medal in our first season.