THE All-Ireland volleyball Cadette finals were played in UCD last week. Five finals were decided but the Cadette B showdowm was of special interest as it featured two Kilkenny schools.
St Brigid’s College, Callan played the Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny. The schools already clashed in the first match of this competition in the initial pool stages.
On that occasion the Presentation beat St Brigid’s College comfortably by 2 sets to 0.
However, many months and many competitive matches later, the final was a much more tightly contested affair. St Brigid’s won the toss and opted to serve, but they failed to take advantage of this and lost the first point.
The early rallies were long and tentative. The Pres settled first and managed to keep a two or three point lead for a good spell. A well-judged time out call was made by the St Brigid’s coach when they were trailing 12-15. The call had the desired effect.
A change in tactics from attacking deep to attacking short changed the momentum in Callan’s favour. Soon they were leading 18-15. The Callan girls gained in confidence and never looked back
They finished out the set with some great attacks from Niamh Phelan and Avril Collins and won comfortably, 25-18.
The second set progressed in much the same fashion as the first. Strong serving from Aishling Nolan helped the Pres into a seven point lead.
Callan soon replied with some excellent serving from Lorraine O’Shea. The scores were level at 9-9. The game progressed in a nip and tuck fashion with the Loughboy girls always a point or two in front.
St Brigid’s were playing some very fragmented volleyball when the Presentation’s captain Mary O’Connell turned up the pressure and served her team into a 19-13 lead. Up stepped the Most Valuable Player of the match, Catherine Foley, who served eight unreturned balls to give the Brigid’s girls a 21-19 lead.
A sniff of success was all the Callan girls needed. Steady defence, complimented by superb setting from Emma O’Dwyer, allowed the girls to relax and attack the ball. They finished with flair as Sarah Lawlor hit her first smash of the game to give the St Brigid’s team matchpoint.
The final score was 25-18, 25-21 in Callan’s favour.
St Brigid’s College - Niamh Phelan (capt), Avril Collins, Lorraine O’Shea, Cathering Foley (MVP), Emma O’Dwyer, Sarah Lawlor, Olivia Vaughan, Ciara McDonald, Maria Woodcock, Joanne Cushen, Gemma Long, Eleanor Costelloe, Brid Lyons, Virgyna Hirstove. Marie Louise Briody (coach).