The NZSS netball tournament runs all this week from Tuesday to Friday at Saxton Stadium in Nelson.
Three schools will be appearing for the first time, Whanganui High School, St Peter’s School, Cambridge, and Samuel Marsden Collegiate.
Wellington’s Marsden is in Pool B alongside Lower North Island tournament winners Manukura, Christchurch’s Villa Maria Colelge and Auckland’s Avondale College.
Some more about Marsden’s team below, from co-captain Grace Masseurs.
School: Samuel Marsden Collegiate
Coaches: Efi Fa’atau and Mona Groom
Captains: Grace Masseurs and Saro Thomson
Team Members: Hannah Fitzsimons, Charlotte Strowger-Turnock, Rachel Albiston, Grace Masseurs, Saro Thomson, Charlotte Mills, Georgia Rich, Mimi Edlund, Araraina Takuira-Mita, Tommi Davie, Eva Whitfield, Sarah Guiney
NZSS Netball tournament history:
This will be the first time we’ve qualified for Nationals, so it’s very exciting for Marsden and us girls!
What local competitions has your school team and the players in the team () played in this year and how did your team and the players go?
Our team played in the Premier 2 grade in Wellington this year as well as the Regional Secondary School League (RSSL). For the most part, in Prem 2 we played women whereas during RSSL only the Wellington Region school teams played. We came 7th in Prem 2, and 2nd in RSSL.
Who are your school’s closest rivals on the netball court?
Our closest rivals on the court would be Queen Margaret College (QMC). Over the past few years, we’ve won games, lost games and drawn to them. This year was no different. We have the opportunity to play QMC regularly, as they are in both RSSL and Prem 2.
Tell us about a memorable match your team has been involved in this year?
A really memorable match for us this year was definitely in the final of RSSL against St Mary’s College. Marsden has never made it to the final before this year so our goal all season was to make it, to get there was such an achievement. With the adrenaline of a final and the 200 amazing supporters from our school that came to cheer us on, it was a game we’ll all remember for a long time. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to take the win and lost by 2 goals. Despite the loss, our team really came together in this game and with the cheering on the bench, sidelines and on court we were able to put up a strong fight. This is definitely one of those games where we were really proud of each other and still are.
Another memorable game in the season would be the 5th and 6th play off in LNISS to qualify for Nationals against Palmerston North Girls’ High School. Having never made Nationals before, this game meant a lot to our school and definitely to us girls. We managed to come out with a win by 12 goals and it was such an amazing feeling realising that we had made the top 5!
What’s the age make-up of your team?
Our team is made up of 5 year levels, from year 9 - year 13. We have five year 13s, three year 12s, two year 11s, one year 10 and one year 9. None of us have ever been to nationals before so this will be a great experience for all of us!
What’s the strength of your team?
We are a close knit team who have a drive to keep fighting when a game gets tough. Even though we’re a team of all different ages, we’re all friends outside of netball too, meaning that trainings and games are always a lot of fun. Eight members of our team have been in a representative netball team for Wellington this year so has meant that we’ve all had plenty of netball and time on the court.
Does your team have any pre or post game rituals or preparations?
Going to the changing rooms together and blasting music is definitely one of our pre game rituals. We also love to come together as a team before warm up to get our heads in the zone and get focused before we get on court.
Are there individuals in your team that also play other sports for the school or to a high level or excel off the sporting field?
Within the team, we have girls who competitively swim, row, play basketball and sing. One of our girls Araraina was the lead in our school production this year of ‘Godspell’. And the team all came down to show their support for Ara and a few other girls on stage, which was so amazing to see.
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
Thank you to Marsden for all the support (especially the hoodies)! Thank you to MFON for all your amazing work you do for the school and for us girls. A special thank you to all the parents who have constantly supported our team this year. Showing up at games, cheering us on, driving us to trainings, it’s so appreciated. The majority of all the parents from our team we know are coming down to Nelson to support us again so a major shoutout and thanks goes to them.
Our sports coordinators, Eliott, thank you for all of your organisation for our team this year and Kathrynn (Kitty P), we all just love you so much and really couldn’t imagine not having you to drive us around! Also thanks for scoring!
To Sian and Caroline, our managers, thank you for absolutely everything you do for us, a lot of which can go unnoticed. The emails, the ball bag, drink bottles and all that after training recovery food. Thank you so much, we all love you!
We wouldn’t be where we are today without our amazing coaches who have put in so much time and effort into this long season. Efi and Mona thank you so much for pushing us and setting our goals high at the start of the season :) You guys are so awesome and we really appreciate all the work you’ve put in this year!
Lastly, I’d like to thank the girls. For myself and the year 13’s this is our last year playing school netball and I couldn’t think of a better team to play this season through with. Thanks for always finding a way to make things fun and for laughing through the pain when we’re told ‘on the baseline’. So much love for you girls.
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