Hometown girls hope for victory
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THE Capricornia girls side will hope to use a hometown advantage to end their run of runners-up finishes when the Queensland Secondary School Volleyball Open Championships start in Gladstone today.
After claiming the title in 2002, the Capricornia girls have been denied by the powerful Sunshine Coastand coach Brian van der Weide will have the side geared up to end the coast's reign.
With eight of the 10 Capricornia girls hailing from Gladstone High's Volleyball School of Excellence program, the team should be comfortable in its home surrounds.
Only Capella's Chloe Smith and Mackay's Holly Hatfield hail from outside Gladstone.
Capricornia's lineup includes sisters and national representatives Emily and Rhiannon Tooker and leading players Chantelle O'Neill and Christie Naumann.
Fellow Gladstone High students Shaun O'Neill and Mark Power will line up in Capricornia's open boys side.
Capricornia and Sunshine Coast are seeded to meet in the final, ranked as the top team in their respective pools.
Van der Weide said the Met North side, which is in the same pool as the Sunshine Coast, would also prove a tough obstacle on the way to claiming the title.
The Capricornia boys side is expected to prove tough to beat but will struggle to overpower competition heavyweights Met East, Met West and Met North with the latter going in as title favourites.
Van der Weide said it was unusual for a smaller regional centre such as Gladstone to host the event but it was able to so because of the facilities available at Kev Broome Stadium and the Gladstone Multi-purpose Sport Centre.
Capricornia teams: Open girls: Emily Tooker, Rhiannon Tooker, Chantelle O'Neill, Christie Naumann, Meghan Jeynes, Elise Hackett, Lexie Armitage, Rhianna Byrne (all Gladstone High), Chloe Smith (Capella High), Holly Hatfield (Pioneer High). Open boys: Shaun O'Neill, Mark Power (Gladstone High), Royce Nolan, Mitch Smout, Ben Hoch, BJ Thomas (St Brendan's College), Aaron Derbin (Mirani High), David Hamilton (Pioneer High), Russell Brown (St Patrick's College).