Young player helps Otago to final

Otago’s Maddy Campbell was named in the tournament team during the recent provincial...
Otago’s Maddy Campbell was named in the tournament team during the recent provincial championships. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Dunedin's Maddy Campbell was one of the stars for Otago at the Provincial Volleyball Championships in Wellington earlier this month.

The 19-year-old made the tournament team and helped her side reach the final.

Otago was outclassed 3-0 by a star-studded North Harbour side. But the tournament fourth seed exceeded all expectations to make it that far.

The team had to overcome a slow start and played a lot of volleyball to stay in contention. Campbell said the side also had to scramble after losing its setter to an injury about a week before the tournament.

That disruption was obvious during the first game. Otago limped passed Taranaki 3-2.

"We didn't play our best volleyball," Campbell said.

A lost to third seed Waikato followed and Otago's campaign was teetering a little.

The team found itself trailing Canterbury 2-0 in the next match but clawed its way back into the match to beat the No 1 seed 3-2 in a tremendous fight back.

Campbell said the game brought the team together. Otago dispatched Counties Manukau 3-1 in its final pool game.

The semifinal was a taxing affair against Waikato. Otago reversed its earlier loss to win the contest 3-2.

But the energy levels had been depleted for the final and North Harbour strolled to victory.

"I'd like to say we put up a good fight but they were too good, really."

Campbell's team-mate Jenna Thorne joined the Volley Ferns for their three-game series against Australia this week and Campbell would like to follow in her footsteps eventually.

Campbell, who discovered volleyball while attending Otago Girls' High School, has completed her first year of a sporting scholarship at Eastern Florida State College.

The 1.8m athlete, who plays as a middle, will return for another year and then the goal is to transfer to a division 1 university to continue developing her volleyball.

"I hope to get in the Volley Ferns in the next few years and play for New Zealand at senior women's level."

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