It was a windy start to the 2019 Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships, which made up the final four days of Optus Volley By The Bay. After the Australian U23 Beach Volleyball Championships concluded on Sunday 14th April, a record-breaking 125 junior teams from 6 Australian states arrived in Bunbury, WA ready to hit the sand at Koombana Bay and represent their State with pride and high expectations.
While strong winds are common on the coast of WA, it does not make for the easiest playing conditions. However, there is one interesting thing about windy weather when it comes to beach volleyball: it evens out the playing field. The first two days of the tournament saw up to 40km per hour winds, which in turn delivered some exciting rally’s between all teams during pool play, both tall and small alike. For one of our WA U19 Female teams, these first two days played a crucial role in shaping their expectations.
2019 WA Female Squad Captain Jasmine Serra, and teammate Kyla Sanchez who was named Female Squad Captain in 2018, were in some way the underdogs in the U19 division. This was certainly not due to a lack of leadership, experience or skill, but because their partnership strayed from the norm of at least one teammate being tall.
Standing at just 166cm and 168cm, big hits and blocks were never going to be the focus of their game. “Jas and I always joked about playing together and how fun it would be, however the expectation that to do well you need a tall and short player, was always there.” Kyla explained. “But once we started training together and saw how competitive and determined we both were to get into a medal match, we left that thought behind and just kept training harder each week.”
Jasmine and Kyla were the 2nd ranked WA U19 team and the 7th overall seed going into the U19 competition. “I guess I went in obviously wanting to play well and win, but wasn’t sure how far we could go. It wasn’t until after the first day that I fully believed we could win Gold.” Added Jasmine.
Exceeding their initial expectations, the team did not drop a single match in the four day competition, leaving their hearts on the court and trading their sweat and hard work for the U19 Female Gold Medal. “It felt so good to come away with Gold. I feel like we both worked hard and developed heaps over the season, so it was such a great feeling to be rewarded for it.” Said Captain Jasmine.
In addition to Jasmine and Kyla, the rest of Team WA made the community extremely proud as always with their effort and commitment during the four months leading up to and throughout Optus Volley By The Bay 2019.
Below is the full list of WA medal winners. For all AJBVC results, CLICK HERE.
Gold – U19 Females, Jasmine Serra (C) & Kyla Sanchez
Silver – U16 Females, Elizabeth Alchin & Caitlin Whincup
Silver – U15 Males, Danyl Mathews, Sebastian Northmore & Jozua McMeekin
Bronze – U18 Males, Tom Dempsey (C) & Korben Phillips
Bronze – U18 Females, Sarah Burton & Sarah Hasselerharm
Bronze – U15 Females, Alexia Zammit & Cassie Dodd
International Bronze – U19 Males, WA Athlete Samuel Bateman, who played with SA Athlete Henry Ambagtsheer after both of their original selected partners had to withdraw from the competition.