A group of Southland-based Filipino volleyball players is making an impression on Volleyball Southland's new Lone Star premier league.
The team - Pinas Hapak (Pinas a way of saying Philippines, Hapak meaning spike) - is unbeaten in the tournament, which is now past the midway point.
What the players might lack for in height, they make up for in talent on court, according to Volleyball Southland regional development manager Donna Milne.
"They are brilliant to watch; so competitive and really talented," she said.
"It's fantastic that they've taken the opportunity to get involved in the premier league and they really are a great addition to the competition." The team got together after hearing about the competition from Southland U18 girls coach and Stadium Southland premier player Jorgelina Leiva, who is an employer on a local dairy farm.
The players - who all work rurally on farms in Makarewa, Central Southland and Riversdale - say they are using the competition both as a way to be involved in the sport and to improve their volleyball skills, but also as a social opportunity.
Team captain Noel Bolivar said volleyball had always been a passion.
"It is one of my favourite sports," he said.
"This tournament develops our skills, enables us to socialise with others and values sportsmanship." While Bolivar said they played primarily for fun, the team enjoyed winning - and continued that run on Monday night, beating Verdon College 3-0.
Milne said there was an annual Filipino Festival, featuring a range of sports including volleyball, and said Volleyball Southland would be happy to assist with attracting the tournament to Invercargill.
Meanwhile, four Southland volleyballers have been named in South Island tournament teams, after producing pleasing results at the South Island Interprovincial Championships in Christchurch.
Southland sent four age group teams to the championships - U18 boys and girls teams and U16 boys and girls teams; each returning with positive results. The U18 boys finished runners-up, the U18 girls and U16 boys both finished in third place and the U16 girls finished fifth. Erin Hughes (U18 girls), Daniel Karsten (U18 boys), Alena Saili (U16 girls) and Jamie McIntyre (U16 boys) were all selected in respective South Island tournament teams.
Volleyball Southland regional development manager Donna Milne was thrilled with the results.
"Last year we only sent one team to the tournament, this year we had four and the results show that we're not only seeing an increase in numbers, but we're there to compete," she said.
"It's excellent to see Southland players starring at tournaments at that level."
- © Fairfax NZ News