VOLLEYBALL TRIALS: North Burnett's U15 girls volleyball team (back row) Abby Adams, Erin Floss, Melissa Birch, Sophie McLaughlan, Emilee Myles, (front) coach Danielle Sinclair, Lizzie Younger, Jo Kassulke, Zarah Smith and Charley Wilson.
VOLLEYBALL TRIALS: North Burnett's U15 girls volleyball team (back row) Abby Adams, Erin Floss, Melissa Birch, Sophie McLaughlan, Emilee Myles, (front) coach Danielle Sinclair, Lizzie Younger, Jo Kassulke, Zarah Smith and Charley Wilson. Alex Treacy

North Burnett volleyball hopefuls are spiked for success

MELISSA Birch has been here before, but that doesn't make it any less important for her.

The Monto State High School student and eight other young hopefuls participated in the Wide Bay under-15 girls' volleyball trials at Mundubbera State School yesterday as a North Burnett team.

Do well here and they are a chance of making the Wide Bay representative team, where they will compete at the state championships in Caloundra in May.

Birch was selected for the team last year, but was unable to attend, as the championships clashed with Beef Australia's Beef Week.

As her family runs stud cattle, her services were required.

This year, there's no two ways about it.

"I'll definitely make it work this year if I get picked,” Birch said.

Birch is one of Monto's stand-out volleyballers and captained the school team in last year's Volleyball Queensland Intermediate Schools Cup in Toowoomba.

The North Burnett team, competing against squads from Maryborough, Gympie, and Bundaberg districts, as well as a blended squad featuring South Burnett players, was made up of girls from Monto State High School and Mundubbera State School.

The latter in particular has distinguished itself on the volleyball court.

PE teacher Adrian Brady says Mundubbera has sent an under-16s (Year 10) girls' team to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup for three consecutive years.

Last December they placed eighth in Division 1, a level below Honours but above Divisions 2 and 3.

What makes this so impressive, Mr Brady says, is that Mundubbera has about only 40 girls to select their teams from.

Some of their team were as young as Year 8.

He said the girls distinguished themselves by their dedication, training three times a week and travelling long distances for competitions.

"They love the sport,” he said.

Hosting the Wide Bay trials was a great way for the town to promote itself, Mr Brady said.

"The best part is that bigger schools get to see what it's like in Mundubbera,” he said.

"It's a great opportunity for our school.”

North Burnett under-15 girls' coach Danielle Sinclair, a teacher at Monto State High School who also coaches volleyball there, said the girls performed well considering they hadn't played together before, owing in part to the distance between Monto and Mundubbera.

You wouldn't know it though.

Each point scored by the North Burnett team was cheered uproariously from the bench, and words of encouragement offered when things didn't go to plan.


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