Orara High School makes history at NSW State Volleyball Championships

Orara High School and Sydney Boys High School. With Orara High School coach Alex Dujin back row centre and first generation Orara High School student and Sydney Boys High School coach Michael Kay.

ORARA High School ‘Thunder’ volleyball team had an outstanding performance in the NSW State Volleyball Championships, achieving the highest finish in their school’s history securing fourth place.

The journey to the championships began with their victory in the North Coast Grand Final for the second consecutive year, which earned them a spot at Olympic Park to compete against the best teams in the state.

Coach Alex Dujin praised the team’s brilliant performances throughout the tournament.

“The Orara Thunder performed brilliantly at the NSW Schools State Championships to place fourth in the state,” he said.

“The championships took place over two full days of playing and performing bench duties between matches, making friendships with players from other schools and simply taking in and enjoying the magnificent atmosphere at Olympic Park,” Dujin said.

In the first three matches, Orara High School displayed exceptional skill and determination, winning all three matches in straight sets (2-0) against Armidale, Albury, and Moruya.

Although the victories were decisive, the team knew they had to maintain their top form to avoid any surprises from their opponents.

The fourth match was against Cabramatta High School who finished a strong 5th last year at the same competition and a school that coach Dujin taught at years ago.

“After hard and long rallies throughout the first set, Cabramatta prevailed and won that set by five points.

“The Orara Thunder team knew if they wanted to create history they needed to step up and take their game to
new heights.

“To a place where they are challenging themselves and the opposition with a tenacity, determination and gamesmanship that will imprint a new benchmark on their game, a benchmark of legendary status,” he said.

“The Thunder won the decider after being down 8-4 at the halfway mark and changing of sides.

“Orara went somewhere where they have been several times in the past, a down-and-out situation and then responding in typical Orara Thunder fashion, clawing their way back from the jaws of defeat to prevail 15-10 in the third-set decider.

“The celebrations after that match were magically ecstatic and mesmerising, they achieved something special securing fourth place with four straight wins in a row on the same day of the tournament,” said Dujin.

The next day, Orara faced Sydney Boys High School in the semifinal, who were coached by Michael Kay, a first-generation Orara High School student.

“The class and professional like gamesmanship is something that Orara Thunder is aspiring towards with their game and was simply too strong for the Thunder,” said Dujin.

“But they held their heads high and earned the respect from the opposition through some magnificent rallies where they won some hard-fought points.”

In the playoff for the bronze medal against Tempe High School, who previously lost 3-2 against Ryde High School, the eventual tournament winners.

Orara came back again from a set down to push Tempe to a three-set thriller where they beat Orara 15-11 in the deciding set.

“Orara High played brilliantly throughout the match but it simply just wasn’t enough against a super-drilled and highly-competitive Tempe outfit who congratulated the Orara team with great admiration.

“Hence Orara earned the respect of not just Tempe volleyball team but also the many onlookers who were captivated by the gamesmanship and sportsmanlike competition that they were witness to,” he said.

“With this aura of positivity Orara High School students also made memorable friendships with players from other teams which they will remember for years to come.

“The journey has been memorable and a very valuable and exciting learning experience.

“Orara Thunder will cherish this moment and will carry themselves with pride, knowing that they achieved something

special, something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” Dujin said.

By David Wigley

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