2020 SVL Season Wrap

After Covid-19 put an abrupt stop to SVL preparations, SNV was excited to be able to re-form 11 teams for the reinstated SVL season. You can read the coaches’ perspectives on SVL 2020 below. Many thanks to the coaches for taking the time to write these season wrap ups and of course for their continued dedication in a year that provided more than the usual challenges! Thank you also to our volunteer managers for helping to keep the teams organised, we couldn’t do it without you.

Administrator’s Wrap (Nerradene)

This isn’t a normal feature of the SVL season wrap but this certainly hasn’t been a normal year…
If I had to sum up the Covid roller coaster that was representative volleyball this year in one word it would be grateful. Grateful to the SNV coaches and board who stepped up and provided much needed support during our original trial period which was a mind blowing 3 weeks of co-ordinating more than 250 players and selecting 14 teams. Grateful for those who understood why I cried when it was cancelled, teams disbanded and players refunded even though it was clearly the only sensible option at the time. Grateful Australia did not follow as dire a path as some countries around the world. Grateful for Volleyball NSW for being prepared to put in endless hours of work creating an amended version of SVL without any surety that it would start, continue or make it until the end. SVL did make it to the end and the willingness of players, parents and officials to adapt and abide by the necessary rules with good grace is testament to the amazing community that volleyball is.
Like all of you, I would also be grateful if SVL 2021 could be a little smoother!

Premier Women – Squirrels (coached by Scott Nichols)

What a great year 2020 was for the Squirrels. We had many challenges to overcome. Not just the obvious interruptions and adjustments forced on us by Covid but we also had players unavailable for various (good) reasons. We had to adapt and overcome as a team, and we did just that. We managed to grab the Bronze for the second time!

Thanks to all the Squirrels for attending training and having such a positive attitude all year. Special thanks for Shirley and Laura for getting the Players’ Player award and the Most Valuable Player award. You guys were so good to watch. Most of all every minute was fun even the stressful ones 😊

Division 1 Women – Foxes (coached by Richard Wolken)

After the lockdown break and short prep, we set out to make the most of the season. With half the team new, a mix of last year juniors (Emma,  Kaylah, Emily, Amy) , some newcomers (Caroline, Meaghan, Dani) , and a core from last year (Berenice, Iana, Tara, Tracey) , the challenge was to get the team to gel as quickly as possible.  We wanted to make sure we all improved, and tried to, most importantly, enjoy ourselves. I feel we achieved this. It was especially nice to see the young ones step up into the adult game with confidence, so look out for them in future!  As a whole we improved when facing tough and smart serves, and started to get more agro on attack, and active on D, and smarter on setting options. We came up with a couple nice comeback wins from behind, and had some close losses. We were never outclassed or intimidated, and I’m proud of our girls for their effort this year, they’ve been a pleasure to coach.

Special mention to MVP – Iana Koneva and Players’ Player – Emily Ji

Under 18/1 Women – Vipers (coached by Kylie Downes, assisted by Kelly Hunter)

A short but great season. We started the season off a bit slow with a few losses but then the Vipers got going playing some great volleyball to reach the finals. Unfortunately we didn’t quite win the final but the team played a smart and never give up brand of volleyball.  The team spirit developed quickly and for a few members they learnt how to play on a hard floor instead of sand.  The team could even cope with a certain coach’s dry sense of humour…..   Even though it has been a much disrupted year all-round, the enthusiasm, focus, willingness to try new skills /ideas and ability to work together as a team made coaching this group very enjoyable and meant the Vipers continued to improve as the season went on. The ladies should be extremely proud of their efforts this year, their improvements individually and making it to the final.

A special thank you to Kelly Hunter who was planning to support her daughter play this year but ended up as assistant coach to the Vipers. To Jess Hunter our MIP, whom I’m sure thought I was mad when I asked her play setter (as she had not really done it before) but did a great job. Also special mention to our MVP and our back court boss Holly Field. Look forward to seeing you all back next year ladies.

Under 18/2 Women – Phoenixes (coached by Maryna Pysarenko, assisted by Su Garrett)

What a pleasure it has been coaching the Under 18s Division 2 team this year!
Despite having limited training sessions leading up to and during the 2020 season, the SNV Phoenixes brought great energy and skill to every game. Each game was a nail biter, scrambling for points and always came out on top, being undefeated until their final match where they finished with silver. As individuals and athletes, the enthusiasm and positive attitude every player brought to the court and training was inspiring. I hope to see them all back next year for an even better season

Most Improved Player – Joey Yun
Most Valuable Player – Cecilia Do

Under 16/1 Women – Thunders (coached by Takae Yusatake)

The SNV Thunders team showed energetic enthusiasm and strong commitment throughout the season.Though many were playing SVL for the first time, they were brave in taking the initiative and playing as hard as they could.

We developed a great sense of the game this season. It truly showed when they passed up countless serves and were able to get three contacts before returning the ball. With many wins and some great learning opportunities, the girls improved from week to week whilst maintaining a strong coherent mindset. They also worked well together in nail-biting rallies and made strong decisions under pressure but unfortunately the success of the last JSI team match didn’t transfer to the final with strong serving and great defence from the opposition. Despite the losses, I encourage the girls to take advantage of this opportunity of experience and to further develop their talents and skills.

It is a big highlight to have this many girls playing volleyball together! During every practice, the girls were dedicated and focused on perfecting their game whilst also enjoying themselves and encouraging each other to be both a better player and person.

Some of the girls had experienced their first season in a competitive league in which they faced a lot of strong teams and equally determined players, but never did they failed to give it their all and trust their teammates. They always celebrated their successes in absolute joy, their positivity was contagious and their determination never dwindled.

There is a lot of potential in these young lovely ladies and l look forward to seeing their progression for many more seasons to come. Keep playing volleyball girls !! Rolling Thunders !!

A special mention to MVP – Minna Lucas and MIP – Zoe Brase
Congratulations both of you !

Under 16/2 Women – Snipers (coached by Sheilah Adam, assisted by Amy Wolken)

“A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.” Author Unknown
And what a year its been…

I am so happy to have such happy, coachable & respectful girls in our team.
From trials, trainings & games, they’ve all shown enthusiasm with open mind to learn, discipline, trust and positive energy throughout the season.

With all the uncertainty that’s going on, we’re just glad that we can still play this great sport.

Hi-fives to Volleyball NSW Team – for all the hard work in organising & keeping us safe with all the Covid procedures for such a big event; thanks to all the volunteers, to all the parents/families/friends, for the live streaming, videos/photos; duty teams – Referees & score officials; big thumbs up to Sydney North Volleyball for having me as part of the SNV family; to Nerradene Wolken for the amazing work that you do as usual, to Amy, for being an awesome assistant coach & role model to the girls, to my beautiful team SNV SNIPERS, I am so honoured & proud to be your coach this season, I wish each and everyone of you all the best in your next volleyball journey, remember – “firework” and to my family & friends, thank you for understanding & supporting me with something that gives me drive & purpose. Well done everyone who participated!!!

It was a very difficult decision to choose our SNV Most Valuable & Most Improved Players as all of them demonstrated the qualities that any coach will be so lucky to have. This year I’ve chosen Lynn Lin as our MVP and Keisachi Albeza for our MIP. Well done!

Premier Men (Coached by Ian Garrett)

2020 was going to be a challenging year from the beginning. With 8 players missing from last years team we had to build an almost completely new team to take on what was to be a very different SVL. 

The team that came together, although inexperienced, was super keen to show what they could do in premier league.

We were expecting the season to be a tough one but had a goal to be competitive and play some good volleyball across the shortened season. 

The rounds started with tough games against UTS and USyd which although we lost we showed in patches that we could put pressure on the best teams. We had hoped that this would lead on to a few good wins over the lower ranked teams but even though we continued to play some good volleyball we couldn’t find the consistency required to finish enough sets to win matches.

I hope that leading into next season we will have learnt enough from the 2020 league so that 2021 will be a big step up and the tight sets we couldn’t finish this year will turn into match winners.

I would like to thank Alec Walker for the big step up in leadership and form this year and Jason Laffer for all his help on the bench and stepping up in the Libero jersey when we needed him.

All the team should be proud of the way that they played this year, even though we didn’t see the results we would have liked we showed promise for the coming years.

See you all at trials next year!!!!!

Special mention to MVP Alec Walker and Players’ Player Josh Hamilton

Division 1 Men (coached by Dan Catchpoole)

As we emerged from our bunkers, bleary eyed, gaunt from the lack of sun and a bit podgey from too much TV and video games, we hit the volleyball courts with that sense of freedom only experienced by a budgie that managed to escape from its cage! With that uncertain sense of new found space we started to train, getting our volleyball movements back into action and starting to gel as a team. Coach Dan introduced them to a new training circuit, ‘the Dan Special’, that proved to be a fun favorite as the season progressed as it pushed the boundaries of their fitness….. until they experienced ‘the Shotgun transition drill’ that pushed them to new heights! Training was a holistic experience and consisted of weekly pepper drills – 2 man, 3 man, 4 man, 6 man and even a 9 man pepper drill – ensuring they were able to count and do basic maths.

We soon learned that we had been bumped up to play Div 1 from Div 2, meaning we had to quickly not just fly, but we had to soar! So we started the SVL competition with unknown expectations – how would we perform. The SNV Div1 Men athletes had never played together as a team before -so it took us some time to work out our connections on court, timings and intensity. What was pleasing about this team is how they worked hard to adjust to develop a strategic  approach to their play, raising their competitive presence on court and pushing all teams to earn their points. Over the season our team gained structure, strategies and found their mojo on court. Whilst the scores may not reflect that efforts and improvements our team made, and realising our step into a higher division, their approach and commitment to the team over this shortened season is something they and the whole SNV club should be proud of. Mostly, the team learned how to have fun again – which after all the lock downs and isolation, is probably the greatest victory of all!!

Congratulations to Timothy Chen on his Most Valuable Player Award and Tomohiro ‘Teddy’ Oka on his Players’ Player Award.

Under 18/1 Men (coached by Peter Irwin)

Although it was a very tough year and not knowing the fate of SVL, it was a challenge right from the word go. I had the pleasure of coaching these young men, and I got to show them my level of passion for the sport. Through this, I witnessed every player improve tremendously during every game and training. It wasn’t long before they were working together, and every game they left everything they had on the court. Coming out with a bronze medal was a very proud moment for all of us on the team, knowing we had put all of our efforts into the match and securing the win. Job well done to all players, and thank you for the awesome season!!

Special mention to MVP – Tarlin Lou and Most Improved – Phoenix Pate

Under 16/1 Men – Ravens (coached by Richard Wolken)

We had a mixed bag of skillsets in this team. Quite a few were picked for potential, looking forward to all that pre-season time to work on skills and prepare for the comp. Thanks to Covid, that never happened, so it was a short time to prepare and hopefully cover some basics. In the end, some of that happened after the season started :-). The boys did a great job in the first game, while struggling with positional play, to actually come close to a win. We ended up with quite a few super close games, and no bad losses, but really the season was about getting everyone’s skills up, developing a better understanding of the game, and getting as much enjoyment out of it as possible.
I’d look forward to having another crack at coaching boys again next year, it was fun for me too. Special mention to Josh Hilman for stepping over from 16/2 to join our team, and doing an awesome job as Libero.
MVP went to Adam Fejes, for his super solid game, and leading by example.
MIP (a tough choice here) went to Brian Lin, who surprised probably himself as well as us, at how much you can improve, through excellent listening and putting those things into action.

Under 16/2 Men – Rookies (coached by Kai Ta, assisted by Kiefer Sinclair)

This has been a fun and rewarding first season coaching at SNV. I took on the challenge and was excited to coach this bunch of enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated young men. The team was made up of a majority of newbies to the sport so it was fitting to call the team SNV Rookies. Even tho we didn’t win a game, the boys came back week after week and continue to put in 100%. They played each game with a positive attitude, the will to learn and gain valuable game experience. I know most of you would have wished to have more court time, but it’s one of those unfortunate things we had to accommodate by having 13 players in the team.
Congratulations to Berke for receiving the MVP award. This is well deserved for his consistent contribution and effectiveness at the net. Also, congratulations to Nathan for receiving the MIP. Your determination to adapt your play based off my constant feedback saw your game improve week after week.
I couldn’t be more proud of this team and thoroughly enjoyed every interaction I had with you all.
Also, thanks to Kiefer for assisting in coaching the team. Hope to see you all on the court soon.


Interested in being part of the action in 2021? Get involved now with Spring Training!

Tickets are available via the links below –

Mixed Juniors
Senior Men
Senior Women