The biggest South East Volleyball Association season ever finished with a bang at the Mount Gambier High School on Monday night.
A record number of teams fought each week in Divisions 1 and 2, but only two were left standing in each grade after 10 rounds and the intense semi-finals across the 2021 winter season.
The Division 1 finale between Giants and Norf kept onlookers on the edge of their seats with the title going down to the final set.
After both sides overcame higher-placed opponents in the semi-finals and the first four sets were evenly shared in the grand final, the first to 15 points in the final set would claim the trophy and the pressure was at its peak.
In the end Giants rose to the occasion to sneak over the line and denied Norf back-to-back titles winning 3-2.
Ben Papps was the main man having collected best player honours, while Braydon Teakle won the season MVP award ahead of Si Pler.
South East Volleyball president and Giants premiership player Cambell Baker said the thrilling final was the perfect way to sign off the big season.
“It has been a very long season building up to the grand final, so it was good to see some teams scrap a bit to get there and put on an awesome display,” he said.
“The Division 1 final was a cracking game that was really high paced with high levels of sportsmanship “We (Giants) have been a bit of a rabble with injuries and we changed our gameplan about 15 times, but we knew once we got to finals anything could happen.” The final result of the Division 2 decider may appear one sided, but it was still a tight contest.
Seters of Catan wrapped up its perfect season in style by maintaining its unbeaten record in every single set.
But opponent Karenni 72 did not give up and pushed the victors to the final play.
Baker said Seters of Catan was the standout team all year.
“Seters of Catan may had won 3-0, but that did not reflect the volleyball played,” he said.
“The last set was really close 25-23 and Karenni 72 did a very good job.
“But Seters of Catan have dominated all season and having six tall, athletic guys in your team makes it easier playing with a lower net.
“No one could really give them a good run for their money until the grand final, so they have developed a good understanding of the game and they will probably move up to Division 1.” The grand final performance of Matt Kurzman was too good to miss and he scored best on court honours, while there was a three-way tie for the season MVP award.
Alex Popovich, Daylia Johnson and Randal Rickard could not be split and shared the award.
The SEVA will take a break before the summer season hits the courts around the middle of August and Baker hopes the sport’s momentum continues to grow.
“It is good to sit back and see where the league started and where it is now is amazing because the quality of volleyball is really good,” he said.
“The standard is getting better and the teams keep coming back, so it is a good feeling to see volleyball start to pick up in the town and hopefully that remains in the future.”