Holy Family Secondary School had teams in both all Ireland Volleyball Junior School Finals that were played in Newbridge on Wednesday 16 May.
After beating Callan in the semi-final two weeks ago the Newbridge 1st years were facing St. Raphael’s from Loughrea in the final.
Both teams started slowly and nervously and errors were frequent. The Holy Family girls started to edge in front and held a slender lead until the set entered its final phase when the Galway girls put in a huge effort to fight back to level the score 22 – 22.
The next few points were contested passionately but St. Raphael’s just edged it 25 – 23.
The second set started as the first finished it was was score for score throughout but this time the Newbridge girls held their nerve to take the set 25 – 23.
So it was all down to the third set. St. Raphael’s went into a 16 - 4 lead and for a while it looked as if they were going to win the set easily. But the Newbridge girls started to put a few scores together and fought back to close the gap to 23 – 18.
The girls from Newbridge fought bravely but St. Raphael’s just held on to take the set 25 – 20. The Holy Family girls performed really well in their first All Ireland final and should be very proud of themselves after giving a tremendous performance and bringing great credit to their school and county.
Julia Hillard won the MVP award after putting in a huge performance for the Holy Family.
As it turned out both schools would again contest the second final of the day – 2nd year Junior Cup Final.
Holy Family had beaten close neighbours and rivals Naas in a very close semi-final a few weeks back and were really up for the final.
As in the first final both teams started nervously and it took a little while for the Newbridge girls to find their rhythm. The Holy Family took a lead of 3 points early in the set and they held this lead throughout the set. The Newbridge girls won the first set 25 – 22.
St. Raphael’s started the second set really well and went into a 12 - 4 lead. Holy Family put in a big effort to get back into the game and eventually leveled the score at 16 – 16.
From here on every point was contested fiercely by both teams. The standard of volleyball played by both teams was as good as anything ever seen in schools junior volleyball. Both teams had some fantastic pick ups and the attacks and defence by both teams got even better. It was a pulsating last few points but when the dust had settled the Newbridge girls were victorious by 25 – 23.
It was a great win for the Holy Family and to top it off Pim Phaengchan was deservedly awarded MVP for the game.