In their first appearance at the national secondary school netball championships in 16 years, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls came away with a creditable fifth-place finish.
Dio were the only Waikato school at last week's event, after making it through the qualification process to compete at their first nationals since 1996 - which they won.
The relatively young squad - most of the players are in year 12 - achieved their aim of a top-eight finish in the 16-team event, and Jessica Shed was selected in the tournament team.
In pool play Dio suffered a 26-25 loss first up to Baradene College (Auckland) before defeating Marian College (Christchurch) 37-22 later that day.
The next morning they downed Wellington East Girls' College 31-27 to book their spot in the top-eight playoffs.
Their first playoff match came that evening, and resulted in a 33-20 loss to St Margaret's College (Christchurch), meaning their two games the next day were effectively must-win in order for the team to make the semifinals.
But a gallant display against defending champions Tu Toa (Palmerston North) was not quite enough, as Dio were beaten 35-30.
Just a few hours after that tough contest, Dio were made to fight their way through extra time against St Mary's College (Wellington), and triumphed 40-33.
That sent them to the fifth/sixth playoff on the final day, and they finished their tournament on a winning note with a 38-29 victory over Avondale College (Auckland).
Mt Albert Grammar School took the title with a convincing 43-24 win over Tu Toa in the final.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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