Silverbacks seek title double
Shirley Silverbacks are into Saturday's VNZ Club Championships Men's Final. Photo by Julie Marie Photography.

Silverbacks seek title double

Christchurch’s Shirley Silverbacks have a chance to sweep the men’s and women’s titles at the 53rd Volleyball New Zealand Club Championship on Saturday after winning through to both finals at the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga.

The defending champion Shirley men’s side – coached by Volley Blacks coach Sebastian Gonzalez - swept into their final courtesy of a pulsating 3-2 semi-final win over Harbour Raiders.

Gonzalez said the semi-final was a fantastic showcase for the sport.

“[The semi-final] was an amazing game against amazing opposition,” Gonzalez said.

“The match was a very high level of volleyball technically and tactically with a lot of powerful athletes. I’m very proud of our boys’ performance and passion and we hope to carry that through to the final.”

Gonzalez’s team completed a perfect run through Pool A, finishing up their opening phase work on Friday morning with a 3-0 win over South Auckland Orcas.

The Silverbacks men’s team will face Wellington-based Pines Men in Saturday’s final, Colin Redpath’s team overturning a 2-0 deficit, roaring back to win 3-2 over Pioneer Panthers. Pines Men finished unbeaten at the top of Pool B.

Meanwhile, the Shirley women’s team, coached by Sam Ryburn, accounted for Manukau South in the last four with a 3-1 victory.

Ryburn said his team were under pressure early against the Auckland side but steadied behind some good blocking.

"Manukau South came out firing in the first set with Mama [Vaipulu] swinging hard on the outside," Ryburn said.

"We had a pretty slow start and struggled to stop their hitters. In the second set we upped our blocking game which allowed the rest of the game to flow for us. Everyone contributed well which allowed for a balanced performance.

"Taylah [Holdem] had an outstanding game and was powerful with hitting from the front and backcourt."

Earlier in the day, the women’s Silverbacks completed a perfect pool play section of the competition - winning all 15 sets – via a Friday morning 3-0 victory over Auckland USO.

The Silverbacks will meet East Coast Bays Thunder in the women’s showcase game, the Auckland side taking their place in the final with a 3-0 win over local club Tauranga Women.

The George Koria-coached team finished their Pool A work with a 3-1 win over Scorpions to complete a record of 15-2 set record for the first phase.

Live stream – catch livestreaming coverage of both finals on Saturday via www.volleyballnz.org.nz

Volleyball NZ Club Championships 2022 – Friday 14 October

Women’s Semi-Finals

  • Shirley Silverbacks 3-1 Manukau South
  • East Coast Bays Thunder 3-0 Tauranga Women

Men’s Semi-Finals

  • Shirley Silverbacks 3-2 Harbour Raiders
  • Pines Men 3-2 Pioneer Panthers

Saturday 15 October
Women’s Final (2pm) – Shirley Silverbacks v East Coast Thunder
Men’s Final (4pm) – Shirley Silverbacks v Pines

For full Day 3 results and draw information from the 53rd VNZ Club Championships, click here.