KARRINYUP-based WA Hornets volleyball team will compete in the Australian Volleyball League (AVL) finals for the first time in three seasons, after new coach Matt Hender led them to a historic season in the southern conference.
Hender (26), the youngest coach in the league, coached the team to a southern conference record of 10 wins and two losses against Adelaide and two Victorian teams, following a last-place finish in 2016.
The Hornets will fly out on Thursday for the finals series held in Melbourne, ahead of their semi-final against Canberra on Saturday.
The players train at Newman College and St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School.
Hender said the team faced a “big change” this season.
“I think the way we have trained and presented ourselves has been completely different to previous years,” he said.
“There is more motivation and more commitment from the players to professionalise things within the team.
“When I came on board, I tried to include some senior players and also try to select some junior players coming through.
“About 10 or so played together in the Hornets last year and maybe five have been in the squad for a few years but a lot of new faces this year.”
Hender said the players were excited to continue to create history at the finals series, as the Hornets have never won an AVL gold medal before.
“So if we beat Canberra, we will then go to the gold-medal match on Sunday and will play against the winner of South Australia and Queensland (and) the two losers will go into the bronze-medal match,” he said.