Maria Folau, Maia Wilson, Erikana Pedersen and Jamie-Lee Price. All former Mount Albert Grammar School netballers involved in the just completed Constellation Cup series between New Zealand and Australia.
Folau passed through the school gates over a decade ago, but Wilson, Pederson and Price were all part of MAGS teams that won a four-peat of NZSS Netball titles between 2012-15.
This year’s winning captain Addi Albert-Jones said that the benchmark that these MAGS teams set is a big part of the school’s netball culture.
“It was great to carry on the success of past MAGS teams, and we still keep in touch with former players. Most of our families are friends, so when we see Maia and Jamie, Holly and others we say hi to each other,” continued Addi.
Holly is Northern Stars midcourter Holly Fowler, who spent five years in the MAGS team and won four consecutive titles between 2012-15. Elle Temu is another recent player who is joining the Pulse in 2019.
Of this year’s winning team that beat Westlake Girls’ High School 32-23 in last week’s NZSS final in Timaru goal shoot Sharne Pupuke-Robati and goal attack Crystal Maro played in 2015.
In 2016 MAGS lost to Saint Kentigern College in the final in Lower Hutt, Last year MAGS finished sixth.
What was the key to MAGS being on top again this year?
“There were seven of us in this team that won the national title last week who have been playing together since we started at MAGS. We played together in Year 9 and Year 10 and we won all our games except one so we have come through as a tight group,” explained Addi.
“The one game we lost was in Year 10 in Singapore on an international tour and we lost to an Australian school but we ended up beating them in the final.”
Last week in Timaru MAGS won the title, but suffered one loss, going down 30-31 to New Plymouth Girls’ High School.
“I think that game showed us that just the MAGS reputation will not get us through, that we need to play to the best of our ability every game we play.”
On the road to the final, beating Saint Kentigern College was a highlight.
“Beating them by 10 [40-30] was a big result for us because we have been through games against them when we have lost to them by similar scores so we understand how it feels. For the girls to come out on top with a win like that really gave them confidence.”
The win over St Kent’s was on the penultimate day, propelling them into the final against Westlake.
Westlake were fast and accurate and well-coached by former Silver Fern April Ieremia.
“Our game plan from the start of the final was to dominate, to put ourselves ahead and stay in front, because the girls thrive off this.”
That is exactly how the final panned out, MAGS leading from start to finish.
MAGS qualified second for nationals from the Upper North Island Secondary Schools (UNISS) tournament, losing to Epsom Girls’ Grammar School in the final.
MAGS finished third in the Auckland Premier competition. “We missed out on the final, we lost a game to Westlake by one goal and we needed Epsom to beat St Kent’s but St Kent’s won that so we didn’t make it through.”
The future looks bright for MAGS. “There will a few Year 12s and Year 13s so I think MAGS will have a good team in the near future, as long they stay together and enjoy playing with each they will be fine.”
Captain and centre Addi was the only MAGS player in the NZSS team’s tour to Australia just prior to the nationals in Timaru. The team played the Australian U17 squad and an England U17 side in series of non-tournament matches. “It showed us where we need to be to compete with the Australians, it gave us a taste of how drilled they are and the level we need to be ourselves to compete with them.”
Addi, Crystal Maro, Halaevlau Toutaiolepo and Ruby Young all made the tournament team from the NZSS week in Timaru from MAGS.
The netball season now over, the focus turns to the classroom for the MAGS netballers with NCEA exams just around the corner. Many also play other summer sports such as touch, sevens rugby and athletics.
One of the biggest cheers of last Friday’s NZSS Netball post-tournament presentations was for Hamilton Girls’ High School’s Summer Parekura immediately after being named as the Shooter of the Tournament.
“I was so surprised, I didn’t expect to get selected as the Shooter of the Tournament,” said Summer. “It was my goal to be named in the tournament team but to be named in that and be named shooter was awesome, I was pretty stoked with that.”
Summer’s Hamilton GHS team finished seventh of 16 teams in one of the most competitive four days on the New Zealand secondary school sporting calendar.
Being a goal shoot calls for calmness under pressure, something that Summer showed plenty of in a series of close games, including three narrow losses to three of the four leading Auckland teams, Mount Albert Grammar School (champions), Saint Kentigern College (third place) and Epsom Girls’ Grammar School (fourth).
“I just try and stay calm and block everything out when I am out there playing and not think about all the people and the game situation when I am shooting,” said Summer who is year 13 and has been playing the sport she loves for as long as she can remember.
She is primarily a goal shoot, but also plays goal attack and wing attack where her passing and timing is accurate like her shooting.
Summer grew up in Opotiki and spent the first four years of her secondary schooling at Opotiki College.
She moved to Hamilton GHS this year to further her sporting and academic career and lives with her auntie and whanau in town. “I made the move up to Hamilton at the start of this year for better opportunities, including sport.”
Hamilton GHS qualified for Nationals for the first time since 2011.
“We were happy with how we finished overall,” said Summer. “The games against St Kent’s [35-37] and MAGS [33-34] were really close – even though we lost to both of them they were a highlight for us because this is only the second time we have played them and to almost beat them was a boost for our team."
Against St Kent’s, Hamilton GHS were trailing 5-12 after the first quarter but came back strongly in the middle stages.
Summer’s overall shooting statistics from the NZSS tournament were 164/194 or 84.5 percent, and she was heavily marked in all matches.
Hamilton GHS’s captain in Timaru was centre Manaia Rapana-Feather. “I was like the vice-captain and Manaia’s side-kick,” enthused Summer.
With Summer being the Shooter of the Tournament, St Kent’s’ Tayla Earle was the Midcourter of the Tournament – and the NZSS Player of the Year – and New Plymouth Girls’ High School’s Parris Mason was the Defender of the Tournament.
Hamilton GHS went into nationals as the fifth placed qualifier at the Upper North Island Secondary Schools (UNISS) tournament at Mt Maunganui, behind tournament winners Epsom Girls' Grammar School, MAGS, Howick College and St Kent’s and ahead of Westlake Girls’ High School.
Hamilton beat Westlake GHS 29-23 in the 5 v 6 playoff match on the final day of UNISS, but the 28-27 win the day before over One Tree Hill College was more important.
“Beating One Tree Hill felt like a final because we had to beat them to get to nationals. It was a tight game as well, they came back in the last quarter and we just got there in the end.”
Hamilton GHS was the only non-Auckland school to qualify for this year’s national tournament from UNISS. The next highest ranking school outside of Auckland was St Paul’s Collegiate who finished 10th.
Along the way at UNISS, Hamilton GHS also lost to MAGS (23-30), lost to EGGS (27-36), and had a win and a lost against Westlake (24-25 and 29-23).
Summer was the only Hamilton GHS player selected in the 21-strong tournament selection group of A grade players at the end of UNISS.
Before UNISS, Summer was in the Hamilton City team that went into the National U19 tournament as defending champions and ended up finishing fifth, behind winners Auckland. Summer and Lyanne Eukaliti were two Hamilton City players that made the tournament team from the U19s week.
Hamilton GHS won both local competitions they were in this year, including the Monday night Waikato secondary school competition. Hamilton GHS beat St Peter’s School in the final.
Throughout the season, netball takes up much of Summer’s spare time, putting in several sessions a week training and practicing her shooting.
The netball season is over now, but she intends on staying fit and focused ahead of the Waikato Bay of Plenty BEKO Development League trials in the New Year.
The Hamilton Girls’ High School team at nationals was: Ivari Christie, Hannah Coffin, Leila Green, Phillipa Hokianga, Te Amai Hudson, Kalanie Kara, Mya Meadows, Te Aomihia Olliver-Samuels, Summer Parekura, Hylan Potts, Manaia Rapana-Feather, Briar Woolford, Captains: Manaia Rapana Feather & Summer Parekura Coach: Lynaire Williams. Assistant Coach: Dianne Riddle Pelchen. Manager: Leanne Green
Mount Albert Grammar School were crowned the best netball school in New Zealand for the sixth time after beating Westlake Girls’ High School 32-23 in the NZSS tournament final in Timaru on Friday afternoon.
MAGS led the final from start to finish, setting an early pattern and keeping a spirited Westlake at arm’s length throughout the decider.
Goal defence Halaevalu Toutaiolepo was a leading player for the champions, as MAGS’ defensive circle exerted consistent pressure on Westlake’s shooters. At the other end of court, MAGS goal attack Crystal Maro was busy all match and was successful with 23 of 26 shots on goal.
MAGS led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Westlake GHS closed the buffer to three goals at halftime, closing to 15-12 by the break. MAGS maintained their pressure and kept their noses in front to lead 24-17 at the end of the third quarter and stayed in front to the end.
This is MAGS’ sixth NZSS title win, since their first in 2010 – meaning that they have now won six of the last nine national tournaments. They are back on top after finishing sixth last year.
MAGS’ win at the NZSS tournament follows their third place finish in the Auckland Premier competition behind winners Epsom Girls’ Grammar School and their 22-32 defeat to EGGS in the final of the UNISS tournament over Winter Tournament Week.
For Westlake, their previous best NZSS finish was 6th in 2009, and they went on to finish 9th in 2012, 8th in 2013 and 10th in 2015 at their last appearance at nationals. They had finished fifth in both the Auckland Premier Competition and the UNISS qualifying tournament in early September.
In an all-Auckland top four, Saint Kent's beat Epsom Girls’ Grammar School 36-33 in an extra time thriller in the 3 v 4 decider and penultimate match of the tournament.
Down 6-9 at the end of the third quarter and 11-20 behind at halftime, St Kent’s made some positional changes - including Tayla Earle moving from centre to wing attack and lastly to goal defence – and held their composure and came roaring back to force a 32-32 scoreline at the end of regular time.
St Kent’s won the third quarter 12-5, to cut EGGS’ lead to 25-23 heading into the final 10 minutes. St Kent’s got to 27-27 and then one goal up with five minutes still to play but EGGS lead 32-31 with only seconds remaining. St Kent’s won the last centre pass of the match and scored the equaliser to lock it up at 32-32.
Three minutes each way of extra time followed, with St Kent’s leading 35-32 at the extra time break and holding on to win 36-33.
In Thursday’s key playoff matches to decide the grand finalists, MAGS had defeated Saint Kentigern College 40-30, while Westlake had edged this year’s Auckland and UNISS champions EGGS 41-40 in a thriller.
EGGS led 36-24 at three-quarter time, but a storming fourth quarter comeback saw Westlake win the fourth term 17-4, including a run of 10 unanswered goals.
Earlier on the last day on Friday, Manukura beat New Plymouth Girls’ High School 45-33 in the playoff for fifth and sixth, in a repeat of the Lower North Island tournament final in early September.
The best of the South Island teams was Dunedin’s St Hilda’s Collegiate who finished eighth with a 32-39 defeat to Hamilton Girls’ High School.
Last year’s winners Howick College finished ninth, beating Southland Girls’ High School 36-24.
Sacred Heart College as the best of the Wellington schools, beating Christchurch’s Villa Maria College 41-27 in the 11 v 12 playoff.
Napier Girls’ High School defeated Wellington East Girls’ College 35-32 in the 13 v 14 match and Christchurch Girls’ High School overcame Nelson College for Girls 35-33 in the 15 v 16 game.
The Shooter of the Tournament was Summer Parekura of Hamilton Girls’ High School, the Midcourter of the Tournament was Tayla Earle of Saint Kent’s and the Defender of the Tournament was Parris Mason of New Plymouth Girls’ High School.
MAGS’ Road to the title:
Beat St Hilda’s Collegiate 56-27
Beat Villa Maria College 54-28
Beat Wellington East Girls’ College 46-37
Lost to New Plymouth Girls’ High School 30-31
Beat Hamilton Girls’ High School 34-33
Beat Saint Kentigern College 40-30
Beat Westlake Girls’ High School 32-23
NZSS Netball last 10 winners:
2018: Mount Albert Grammar School
2017 Howick College
2016 Saint Kentigern College
2015 Mt Albert Grammar School
2014 Mt Albert Grammar School
2013 Mt Albert Grammar School
2012 Mt Albert Grammar School
2011 Tu Toa
2010 Mt Albert Grammar School
2009 Tu Toa
The two squads that met in the final were:
Addi Albert-Jones (Captain), Leila Atkins, Waiana Jones, Latonya Lole, Jada Manase, Crystal Maro, Sharne Pupuke-Robati, Aaliyah Rooney, Halaevlau Toutaiolepo, Renata Tusani, Catalina Young, Ruby Young Coach: Sarah Hann. Assistant Coach: Kylie Leot.a Manager: Primary Care: Oceane Maihi.
Westlake Girls' High School
Olyvia Baggett, Charli Foster, Angeline Godinet, Elizabeth Handey, Courtney Katterns (co-captain), Sara McCarthy (co-captain), Kylie McGahan, Ellie Minton, Claudia Sowter, Kristin Talma, Rachael Webster, Millie Wilton, Captains: Coach: April Ieremia. Assistant Coach: Celine McGahan. Manager: Liz Page. Analyst: Carrie McCarthy.
Nelson College for Girls (NCG) will take their place at the NZSS Netball Championships in Timaru next week for the first time in over 20 years.
NCG qualified in fourth from the recent South Island Secondary Schools (SISS) tournament, behind winners Villa Maria College, second placed Southland Girls’ High School, third placed Christchurch Girls’ High School and ahead of fifth placed St Hilda’s Collegiate.
At the 16-team NZSS tournament, NCG are in Pool A with Upper North Island winner Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, Lower North Island third placed qualifier Napier Girls’ High School and UNISS fifth placed qualifier Hamilton Girls’ High School.
A bit more about them below.
School: Nelson College for Girls
Team Members: Lydia Swaney, Olivia Avery, Alex Whitfield, Tia Van Diepen, Jaime Archer, Jessica Williams, Kate Caradus, Zoe Curtis, Emma Newsome, Scarlet Powell, Sophie Fleming, Chloe Webb.
Captains: Lydia Swaney (c) and Olivia Avery (vc)
Coaches: Lyn Fleming and Faye Eden
NZSS Netball tournament history:
The last known time Nelson College for Girls was at NZSS was 21 years ago, back in 1997. So this is a pretty new experience for us and our school!
What’s it going to take for your school to do well in the NZSS Nationals?
We need to keep working hard and pushing each other hard in training. As well as training, we need to continue to eat well and keep up our nutrition and hydration. This keeps us at our peak so that we’re ready to hit the court having the best build up possible.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
Our team played in the Premier competition in Nelson where we mostly played women in a three round-robin set up. We ended up coming fourth in this competition. However, we did go to Christchurch and play some friendly games against Villa Maria A and B as well as Christchurch A, where we won these games.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
Our closest rival on the netball court would be Waimea College. They are the only Secondary Schools team who we have the opportunity to play regularly. Waimea challenge our fitness and skills and when we play them it means we get to put all our hard work on the court.
What’s been a memorable match your team has been involved in this year?
A very memorable game the team has played was definitely our SISS game against St. Margaret’s [won 36-33], which decided what team was going to get into top 4. We played a very tight game where both teams fought till the very end and gave all they had. This was a very memorable game for us, as we never thought we’d be able to make it as far as we did in the competition and making it into top 4 was an awesome feeling.
What’s the age make-up of your team?
We have a lot of year 13’s, six, one year 12 and four year 11’s. None of us have ever gone to NZSS before so will be an exciting, new, experience.
What’s the strength of your team?
The strength of our team is our drive to never give up and our team bond. We’re all very good friends out of netball and this correlates onto the court. All of our team is either been in a representative team this year or previously played in a representative team. We have all played with each other in rep teams before so we have an understanding of how each person plays and how each person is different. Our team culture is one of our strongest attributes. We all like to have fun together but we know when it’s time to knuckle down and put in some work.
Are there individuals in your team that also play other sports or do other activities for the school?
Within our team we have a range of girls that have different abilities in different areas. We have a couple of girls who are involved in our school choir, which gained a silver medal in the national ‘Big Sing’ choral festival. We have girls who play at a high level in Volleyball and New Zealand Basketball. As well as this we have four girls who’re part of the Head Student team as House captains and Olivia Avery is our Head girl at Nelson College for Girls this year.
Does your team have a motto or a mascot or any pre or post game rituals or preparations?
We like to play games such as ‘oomcha’ and ‘bump’ as a way to get the chat up before games and to get mentally prepared.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
We’ve had so much support this year including individual sponsorship and team sponsorship from NBS. As well as this many parents and family travelled down from Nelson to Dunedin to see us play so we owe them a massive thank you for taking time out of their busy lives to support us. I already know that family is coming to Timaru to again support us so we are very thankful for them. But we owe the biggest thank you to our coaches and manager. Lyn and Faye have given up so much of their time to come to trainings and games each week. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our coaches continually supporting us and teaching us. We also owe a massive thank you to Libby Archer, our manager. We all love the food she cooks and the laughs we share with Libby and our coaches.
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