Dual Gold for Vic at Aus Youth Beach Volleyball Champs 2023

Published Sat 01 Apr 2023

Volleyball Victoria has returned from the 2023 Australian Youth Beach Volleyball Championships (AYBVC) held in Coolangatta, QLD with an impressive overall 2nd place in Australia.

Victoria improved on last year’s 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals, this time flying home with 2 Gold Medals, 4 Silvers and 1 Bronze.  Victoria finished in 2nd place behind Queensland on 15 points in the President’s Shield (formerly known as the Andy Burdin Shield), awarded to the best performing state/territory during the event.

Victoria sent 90 athletes across divisions U14’s, U15’s, U16’s, U17’s and U18’s.  Our largest ever delegation, including 19 coaches and 3 supporting staff.  Beach Volleyball’s future in Victoria is bright as the trends suggest and we cannot wait to be back next year to go one better.

In the U16 Girls, it was an all-Victoria showdown in the Gold Medal match with Jess Turner / Ruby Smith edging out fellow teammates James Lycett / Ellie-May Jury for the Gold (21-13, 21-19).  In great sportsmanship, all four girls and the wider Victorian community celebrated the achievements of both teams post-match in a special moment for those who were there.  Jess Turner was awarded the Gold Medal Match MVP.

In the U18 Girls, Emma Hannagan and Gemma McNamara continued their strong form and overcome the challenge of facing off against the same NSW opponents they lost the Bronze Medal match to in 2022. There was nothing stopping them this time around as Gemma and Emma overcame the early nerves with a 21-19 win in the first set before a flawless 21-5 second set to take home Bronze.

In the U14 Boys, Sebastian Gelt, Ethan Luo, Lenny Wong and Leonardo Pellone looked strong all week and despite being in the youngest age group, had the entire Victorian squad looking up to them with how well they carried themselves all week.  Unfortunately, the boys just missed out on Gold, losing to QLD 21-18, 21-10 however there’s no doubt the Silver medals are not just a reward for their great effort all year but will also be driving factor for retribution come 2024.

In the U15 Girls, Ella McDonnell, Shiyu Ge and Rosie O’Brien fought valiantly in the Gold Medal match against Queensland however it just wasn’t to be, going down in a close one with QLD winning 21-16, 17-21, 16-14.  Volleyball Victoria couldn’t be prouder of the girls for their efforts this year and hope that the Silver medal not only makes them proud but also inspires them to come back next year and go one better.

In the U17 Girls, Victorian superstars Lucy Mullan and Hilary Hannagan certainly impressed those who were there to see them. The girls played off for Gold but in unique circumstances on the final day, they still had to play their Semi-Final match at 8am against Queensland before knowing whether they had made it through. Thankfully the girls got the Semi Final win in 3 sets before facing another Queensland team in the Gold Medal match, going down 19-21, 21-19, 15-10.  We couldn’t be prouder of these girls in how they carried themselves through both victory and defeat and want to acknowledge just how proud we are as an organization for their leadership and excitement that they bring to the rest of the program.

And lastly, the U14 Girls.  The future of our sport summed up in one word, amazing!  Adele Curtis, Ellie Mellings, Ediri Ukoko, Izabella Cheng and Mayra Pacioni outclassed the entire division and proved once again to the rest of the country just how good Victorians are.  The Girls defeated QLD in the Gold Medal Match, 21-13, 21-16 but even more impressive than that is that they did not drop an entire set all tournament!  The MVP of the Gold Medal match went to Adele Curtis but with every individual award is a team of people working towards success and so we congratulation all of the U14 Girls and their wider teammates, coaches and support staff on an incredible 2023 AYBVC campaign!.

Volleyball Victoria would like to extend a thank you to all of the athletes involved in this years’ program, from the trials last year right through to championships, to all of our volunteer coaches who gave up their weekends to coach our teams, we cannot thank you enough! To our officials who have represented their state, we thank you for your contribution to helping with this event. A big thank you must go to all of the families who support this program and the wider sport – we cannot do this without you and these successes as much the kids’ and Volleyball Victoria’s as they are yours so thank you!  To our partners who ensure that we can continue to develop Australia’s next generation of Beach Volleyball stars, we thank you endlessly.

Volleyball Victoria would like to make a special acknowledgement of and thank all outgoing athletes of this program for your time, your commitment, your maturity and leadership and for being the role models for future generations.  We hope to see you all continue your beach volleyball in coming years and hope that you enjoyed the experience of representing your state.

We also would like to thank Volleyball Australia for hosting the AYBVC and look forward to returning to Coolangatta, QLD in 2024.  In particular, we’d like to acknowledge Jarred Osborne, Lindsay Chugg, Kacey McEwan, Teresa Lloyd and the entire VA team who work tirelessly at the event to make everything run as smoothly as possible.  A special thank you also must be mentioned to the staff at Volleyball Queensland for their ongoing support of Volleyball Victoria’s involvement in the AYBVC; namely Catherine Birch, Jason Matulick and Connor O’Neill.

We would like to thank the following people:

Alana Hassell of Showgrounds Village Physiotherapy

Joust and Australia Volleyball Warehouse

Helloworld Helensvale Plaza – Tony Strong and the team

Mantra Twin Towns

Virgin Australia

Coolangatta Pizzeria

And finally, to Program Coach Tamsin Hinchley.  Words cannot express how much we value your contributions to the program this year. Every coaches meeting held every night, there was one common theme that shone through and that was just how much value our 18 other coaches were learning from you.  From our new coaches all the way through to even our most experienced coaches – we all cannot thank you enough.

Congratulations to all involved and we look forward to celebrating with you at the 2023 Beach Blue and White Jacket Dinner on May 6th where we will formally celebrate your achievements.