New Zealand Secondary School Championships 2015

The Roncalli College Senior A netball team qualified to compete at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball Championships after finishing 4th at the South Island Secondary Schools Championships held in Timaru in early September. The top five seeded teams at SISS all qualified for the National champs and this was only the second time in history a team from Roncalli College has qualified for this NZSS tournament. This year the tournament was held at the EA Networks Centre in Ashburton from Tuesday 6 - Friday 9 October, which was fortunate for Roncalli not to have to travel too far afield. The team had just over four weeks to prepare for tournament which was always going to be a hard fought battle against New Zealand's best Secondary School teams, but a great achievement for Roncalli to experience netball at this elite level.  Fundraising was underway with very limited time to raise the amount needed to attend. An advertising feature in The Courier newspaper was first on the list, this was well supported by the girls local business contacts and this raised a large percentage of the money required, along with a sausage sizzle, funding from the Lion Foundation, and generous donations from other local sporting organisations the team managed to cover all expenses within the short time frame.

Sixteen teams contested the four day tournament which included 6 teams from the Upper North Island, 5 teams from Lower North Island and the 5 South Island schools. No pool play was going to be easy with Roncalli seeded in pool A up against Manukura High School (Tu Toa), Baradene College, and Mt Albert Grammar School. Mt Albert were strong favourites after being crowned 2014 NZ champions and having a squad with many players from the NZSS team and others who have been signed to play for NZ franchise teams and invited to Silver Ferns trials.  As our girls watched the opposition enter the stadium, the height and sheer size was overwhelming and even their warm-ups were eye catching. Throughout the four days they played seven tough games (post pool play teams - Napier Girls High School, Westlake Girls High School, Southland Girls High School and St Andrews College) and even though the girls did not manage a win, they certainly played their best netball being the smallest school at the tournament, up against some schools with roles of 2000+ is pretty hard to compete with but the girls certainly represented the College and the wider community with pride. The highlight of the week, was the final game against St Andrew's College to determine 15th/16th place, Roncalli had previously lost to them for 3rd place at SISS by 8 goals.  The girls started strong and gave it everything, the determination to want to win the last game of the season was evident.  At halftime the score was tied at 15 all and the 20 minutes that followed was of solid, well played, hard fought netball.  Down five goals at 3rd quarter time, the girls dug deep and clawed back but unfortunately time ran short and St Andrews took the win by one goal 35-34.  The girls finished on a high note, and everyone was happy with their individual efforts and reaching their own goals throughout the tournament. The final was between Mt Albert Grammar and St Kentigern College, MAGS won 41-35.

A huge crowd of supporters from South Canterbury travelled each day to watch the team play and they certainly made the most noise around the stadium. A huge thank you to everyone who supported throughout the week with many taking time away from work and other commitments. It was wonderful to see staff, parents, grandparents, students, ex-students, former coaches, and supporters from other local schools.

Sky Sport attended the competition and captured footage of this tournament showcasing some of New Zealand's up and coming talent. Roncalli was lucky enough to feature in the highlights package which featured on TV the week after tournament.

Congratulations and well done to all of those involved, it will certainly be a memorable experience.
A special mention to staff members Ellen Walsh and Sam Schrader who stepped in as team managers/primary care and giving up their holiday time to travel away with the team. All the very best to Steph Waud and Karen Dorgan who after this tournament step down as netball coaches for Roncalli College after a number of years.  We thank them very much for the many hours spent coaching, for all that they have done for Roncalli Netball and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours. These ladies have done an outstanding job and will certainly be missed.
The Roncalli NZSS tournament and management team -
Kelly Waud, Laura Dorgan, Macie Austin, Libby Davenport, Jada Hammond, Sonnie Katene, Jaymee Cannell, Abby McIlroy, Kate Braddick, Abby O’Brien and Llewellah Priest.
Coaches - Steph Waud and Karen Dorgan; Managers - Ellen Walsh and Sam Schrader
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