Clean sweep for College
Nelson College went through the competition unbeaten to win the Mainland Volleyball Championship for the first time in 15 years.
Forced to come from two sets down in the final, they defeated another well-performed Nelson side, Waimea College, who claimed the runner-up position at the South Island secondary schools competition in Christchurch on Sunday.
The final was tightly contested, with Waimea College taking the opening two sets 25-19 and 27-25.
Nelson College kept the game alive with a 25-21 victory in the third before a decider was forced after Nelson took the fourth set 25-15.
There was drama on the sidelines, but even a pale-faced coach on the brink of collapse couldn't match the final set for theatre as Nelson College won 15-12 to take the title 3-2.
Nelson College co-coach Mark Cochrane said that following on from last year's trip to Marlborough, where co-coach Neil Anderson's cat went on tour with the team, Anderson tried to outdo that effort by dislocating his little finger just before the final.
"With the game in progress, he popped it back in and attempted to continue coaching, all the while beginning to faint," said Cochrane.
"With a bit of help, he recovered and got back in the game, taking the team on to win for the first time since 1998."
Boys' and girls' sides from throughout the South Island came to contest the title at both the Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre in Spreydon and Cowles Stadium in Aranui.
Earlier, Nelson College had beaten Shirley Boys' High School 3-0 in the semifinals, while Waimea College accounted for Timaru BHS by the same margin.
Waimea College's B team finished sixth, while Nayland College finished eighth of 12 teams.
In the girls' competition, Waimea College A were defeated by rivals Marlborough Girls' College in their semifinal. Nelson College for Girls A came fifth, Nayland College seventh, and Waimea Green eighth. Nelson College for Girls Navy finished second in division two.