XMAS PARTY AND WRAP UP 2017

The sun shone and the rain stayed away on December 3 for the Freezone Annual Christmas Picnic and Awards Ceremony.  A healthy gathering of Freezoners assembled in the Moore Park BBQ area opposite the Sydney Boys High School on Sunday Dec 3 for a day of feasing, frivolity and a little bit of recognition of our most iconic persons for the year.

Louis Eudo once again provided a wide array of foods with a distinct ‘white theme’ to cater for the appetites of all the Freezoners and once again there was ‘food for days’.  A great way to celebrate the end of the 2017 volleyball year.

The lawn court went up and a great day of sunny volleyball was enjoyed well into the afternoon even as the heat began to intensify.  As always, refreshments were on hand to quell any thirst or dehydration.  It was also wonderful to have friends and family members coming along and sharing in the day with all our diversity, inclusion and crazy antics.

It was wonderful to have our Life Members present including the original Freezoner – Barry Webb accompanied by Daniel Grossi in attendance.  Freezone’s 40something year history was well represented and we were very grateful for Barry and Dan coming along.

The awards for 2017 were handed out by Mdm President Furness after first acknowledging the hard work done by the committee for 2017.  Stuart Mackay, Rafael Montallanos, Louis Eudo, Mark Bennett, Andrew Wilmott, Jeffrey So and our General Officer and Grand Pooh Baa – Somkhit Jartnoi.  A club is only as good as it’s volunteers and it is a blessing to have such people giving up their time and investing their energy into the club the whole year round to constantly keep the club evolving.

Our awards recipients for the year were a deserving bunch and it is always a pleasure to highlight the contributions of club members and give them some recognition.

Premier Awards:  Each recipient receives annual Freezone Membership to Freezone Volleyball

Best Newbie – Fernando Peres.  Fernando definetly has a passion for volleyball and after only a short time with the club, he’s been very active joining any team he can for whatever tournament including away tournamnets and also in attending fundraising events and keeping Freezone’s identity out in the community.

Most Improved – Brian Chase-Olsen.  Brian has been avidly attending tournaments over the past few months and demonstrating that he has been listening during our Wednesday night Open Trainings.  His performance at the recent Adelaide Spikers Tournament showed just how much he has progressed since starting with Freezone in 2016 and we are very happy to see him developing his knowledge and experience on court.

Supporters Award – Dayle Bennett

Whilst Dayle may not be a playing member of Freezone, he is very much a part of the Freezone Family.  Dayle is always present at Freezone functions and has regulalry helped out at Tournaments behind the desk and from being on hand to provide support.  This contribution is so valuable to a club and is worth recognising.

Prestige Awards:  Each recipient receives annual Freezone Membership along with registration with SVNSW paid for by the club.

Best Freezoner – Felix Eistrup.   It’s almost strange to think of Freezone not having had the benefit of Felix’s charm, wit and banter for the past 4 years.  Felix regularly attended tournaments playing with FZ teams and also brought his teams from Brisbane along to participate.  Since moving to Sydney 18 months ago, Felix has brough a wo

nderfully friendly face to our regular sessions and has been a part of many teams including the newly formed State Squad.  His willingness to offer support and bring peopel to the club has been constant and he is always around attending events and sponsored activities.  A worth recipient of this award.

Most Valuable Player- Dudley Birch  Dudley has been part of the Freezone crew for many years, playing with our treasured SPIKED PUNCH crew at tournaments at the local and State level.  Even with the new responsibilities of being a Dad, Dudley has maintained a presence and is always around to be part of teams and push to compete at tournaments and represent the club.  An adaptable and versatile player, he contributes to any game and is always a welcoming and encouraging player.

Presidents Award – Jeffrey So Jeffrey has been a prominent Freezoner for over 143+years representing the club at the local, state and international level with 4 Gay Games under his belt.  Jeffrey has served on numerous committees as Secretary, Socail Co-ordinator and most recently as Sponsorship officer, maintaining much needed connection with our primary sponsor ACON as well as recruiting new sponsorships for tournaments and the club in general.  Jeffrey’s work spans many years of contribution and whilst not the loudest presence, he has always worked in the background ensuring the success of Freezone as a club and as an organisation.  Recognition of his many years of contribution, Jeffrey is a most valuable recipient of this award.

 

 

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First Hitout for State Squad

Canberra was the scene for the first tournament tryout with our new look State Squad.  FZ Red and Blue teams travelled to the nation’s capital to play in Canberra Cup on the 13th October hosted by Rebecca Hillier and her crew at the Canberra Volleyball League.  With a small tournament in play, the Red and Blue teams were looking to work out their kinks and trials and put all the training from Coach Marie Skelton into practice.

A few last minute adaptions for the Red team saw them playing with only 6 players as Juan Camillo was involved in a car accident in the early hours of Saturday morning.  Thankfully he is ok, although his nose was broken.  So Red were reduced to no libero with only 6 in playing mode.  FZ Blue had more of a full compliment with their full team and were able to put their liberos to good use and have full rotations.

With both teams having never played together, it was a case of figuring out the kinks and where to play who and with what combination.  Coach Marie was on her feet all day pacing the side of the court with each game and ensuring there was leadership from the sidelines.  It was certainly a learning curve as we experienced having that outside influence who was targetting plays, noting defense strategies and leading the charge in sensible and effective play.  Marie certainly had her work cut out for her as we notched up play against two other teams.  The toughtest call was where both Red and Blue were playing against each other in a pool game.  Friendly competition and strategy was employed and both teams had their moments.  Both good and bad.  But this is the norm when you first play together and so there were lots of moments of victory combined with lots of moments of some confusion.

All in all the weekend was a good success as Coach Marie got to see how her teams performed under pressure and in the competitive field rather than just being at training.  “Volleyball is an errors game and it is ultimately the team that makes less errors that wins the match.  Some of us dealt better with that pressure and also there was the element of experience in those situations that showed up” .  In terms of results, FZ Blue encountered a tough 3 set bronze playoff in their final game where they began to string some of the elements that Marie has been working on together.  The progress of the day saw the Blues begin to get used to foreign rotations and switching between roles to understand where best their strengths lay.  Whilst they may not have won their games, they certainly learnt about how to play together at that higher Div 1 level.  FZ Blue went through to the Gold Medal Playoff against a younger BHV Colts line up.  With only 6 players, the younger team had perhaps more gas in the tank in the final.  They were a strong team who had obviously played together for a longer time.  The final set of the 2 set final went down to the wire 25-23 and the Reds were on the offensive with some good tactical play being led from Coach Marie.  It may have been a little too much to expect to win their first tournament hit out but they came very close and have certainly set up an eagerness to face off against the BHV team in  future tournaments.

The weekend has shown how much the Squad needs to come together to be able to be competitive at these levels.  The commitment of the teams to ensuring that ‘team play’ is together and supported and that the positional play and training that has been enforced at training can be taken onto the court is paramount.  It was exciting to have the squad there supporting each other and trying to help each other perform.  That team unity was evident from the start.  It’s going to be exciting to see where the squad can go from here and already there is a good understanding that this is a process and that there is much to learn and understand.  The squad will continue to learn and train and have their 2nd hitout at the State Cup #6 in 2 weeks time.

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SPRING FLING 2017

It was a full compliment of teams on Saturday 1st October as Freezone hosted its annual Spring Fling Tournament with 32 teams across 5 divisions converging on Netball Central in Homebush.  This was the 2nd time we have had the chance to host an event at the new centre and it certainly brings with it an air of kudos with the facilities being top notch.  An early start saw 9 courts in action and plenty of fun filled focus for a long day of volleyball.  This year we had a large run on entries in our Men’s A Grade competition so there was a little jumbling of courts and mixing up the draw to accomodate for the top heavy mens competitons.  We had our usual Mixed and Women’s comps and glad to say we still ran our recreational competition with teams forming around 2 weeks before the competition.

The competition ran on throughout the day and whilst there were some slip ups on the technical side of operating the systems from command central we managed to keep the schedule happening.  Unfortunatley we weren’t able to maintain this into the afternoon with games running late and duty teams disappearing but most of the competitions did manage to make it through the day with every team playing at least 5 games!  This meant that there were a lot of tired bodies around and about and this new formula certainly gave a great deal of volleyball play during the day.

One of the most promising aspects of operating a Freezone Competition is to get people into their first tournament experience.  With the club expanding to a new membership maximum and our beginners level training on Sunday starting to have effects, many of the players in teams in recreational and men’s B grade were first time participants.   This is a result that Freezone is very proud of – giving people the chance to have their first taste tournament volleyball and enjoy all the responsibilities of duty, turning around and playing games in succession and getting up at the end of the day to play that last game and play hard with vigour.  To all those people who were recruited into teams, we hope that you were provided with a great first experience and that you will be back for more in the consecutive tournaments operated by Freezone and our sister clubs in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Special thank you to our tournament scorer Rafael Montellanos and to our committee, many of whom were involved in playing on freshly made up teams and giving our newer players some experience on their teams and providing leadership.  We look forward to hosting you all again in February 2018 for our Mardi Gras Mixer!

 

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AGM 2017

It was a small but dedicated quorum who attended the Freezone AGM on Sunday 8th October where nominations to the board were received for the calendar year 17-18.

The wrap up of the previous years achievements were a glowing affair with membership figures hitting an unprecedented 115 members, our largest ever membership haul.  The club stands in a great position with financial surety and a budget surplus for the year which we look to be investing into new initiatives for the club in the near future.

Much of the success of the 16-17 year can be attributed to the committee who have been consistently serving the club for the last 3 years.  I am happy to report that all excluding one member renominated their positions this year and this consistency of leadership has allowed the club to put plans into place that have ensured the ongoing success and support of the club with ‘hands on deck’ support that ensures operations happen smoothly and the direction of the club is always at the forefront of the committees deliberations.

Re-nominations were received and the Committee for 2017-18 will be made up of:

Executive Members

President:  Peter Furness
Secretary:  Stuart Mackay
Treasurer:  Rafael Montellanos

General Committee

Venue Co-ordinator:  Mark Bennett
Events Officer:  Louis Eudo
Teams Co-ordinator:  Andrew Wilmot
Sponsorship Officer:  unfulfilled

The meeting was also marked with the indication that the current President (Peter Furness) will be resigning at the next AGM in 2018.   With Mdm President having served on the board for 9 years (10  years in September 18) it is time for new blood to take direction of the club and move it forward towards 2020.

The coming weeks will see the new committee continuing to meet as we begin to roll out new changes and directions for the club.  With Gay Games X on the calendar for 2018, the committee will be working towards ensuring the club supports the social interaction and principles of the club alongside our new push for higher talent development, internal recruitment of coaching and ensuring the financial surety of the club moving forward to 2020.

Strategy sessions will be the next item of discussion for the committee as we begin to formulate the direction of the club and put into place a new triple tiered training and development program and bring into play a new coaching staff and positions that will herald new developement of talent and internal recruitment within the ranks of Freezone.

Anyone wishing to nominate or attend committee meetings are most welcome and this can be done by contacting secretary@freezonevolleyball.org. Meetings are held on Fridays at the beginning of each month.

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Freezone Launches State Squad

Freezone Volleyball is very happy to be announcing a new initiative for 2017 in the form of an advanced new representative squad that will compete at the Div 1 Level of State Cup and Volleyball Australia Tournaments throughout the country.  This new squad will see the appointment of a new Head Coach – Marie Skelton.

The mission of the new squad will be:

  • Identifying and developing talent within the club whilst providing an onward developmental progression for players who want to compete at the higher Division 1 level of State Cup competitions and beyond.
  • To harness the potential of players who desire a higher competitive experience.
  • To provide a recruitment for players who are seeking a competitive level of training and give a greater level of volleyball experience within a supported and managed team environment.
  • A squad to represent the club at a State level, creating a supported team environment.

This new direction for the club will be directed by the Committee alongside our head coach and our first trial term will begin in September 20th and will run for approximately 10 weeks as a trial to ascertain the interest and whether the club can support such a new initiative.  Trials will be conducted across 2 sessions to maximise the selection and from these trials a squad of 2 teams will be selected.

Coach Marie says she is excited to be taking the club in a new direction.  “Freezone has the capacity to compete at the medal level of play in Division 1 and there is so much talent within the ranks of the club.  We have always operated as groups of friends playing together and this will still be the focus of Freezone but this new intiative will be about taking players with that raw potential and talent and developing that further at a competitive level to enable development beyond the social level of play”.  

Anyone wishing to trial is allowed to attend the sessions in late September but all selected participants must be Freezone Members. The club will be funding much of this new program and is breaking new ground as we begin to develop our internal coaching talent as well with assistant coaches and staff employed to assist with the new program.

Stay tuned for more news of our new squad and this new direction for the club.

 

For more information visit:

Freezone State Cup Squad

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Melbourne Spikers Winter Whack

It was a bitterly cold day in Melbourne on July 8th as Freezone fielded two teams in the annual Melbourne Spikers Winter Whack at the Oakleigh Recreational Centre.  The annual tounament was delayed a little from previous years after the calendar clashes with the supposed Miami Outgames which were so unceremoniously cancelled and hence rescued by Freezone/Melbourne Spikers in early June.

So it was really lovely to just turn up and play in this tournament and know that the crew was going to ensure another great day was going to happen.  The committee of Melbourne Spikers did a marvellous job as always and this time achieved their event despite the President Sebba Delfino swanning it around in Europe!

A rogue team of Freezoners teamed up under the leadership of Scott Baker and placed the ‘Blokes Who Brunch’ team in the B division.  It was a little bit of a ‘sandbag’ for our team but that didn’t stop the crew from not having to work their way to the final in the B grade.  And what a final – it didn’t disappoint with the game lasting the longest out of all the games with a massive 40-38 2nd set with the Brunchers having to win the set to stay in the match after dropping the first set 25-21.  It was a heavy hitout on the 3rd set with Rafael Montellanos having to work his little latino lunchbox to the max, putting an offense together. In the end the BWB crew emerged triumphant to the absolute relief of the organisers who were all very interested in getting out of the gym and into the presentation venue.

It was especially gratifying that Rafael Montellanos received MVP for the day in B grade for his crazy antics and on court drive.  A wonderful tournament and day was had by all and Freezone once again had a brilliant time down south enjoying the hospitality of our sister club.   Congratulations Melbourne Spikers and looking forawrd

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SPRING FLING 2017 REGISTRATIONS

Freezone Volleyball hosts its 2nd annual tournament for 2017 on the last day of September.

We will be back at Netball Central in Homebush with 9 courts and 5 divisions.

This year we are sure to sell out so do get your entries in early.

$250 team entry

Mixed/Women’s/Men’s A & B/Recreational Divisions on offer

BEST UNIFORM PRIZE

e: teams@freezonevolleyball.org

REGISTER HERE

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Miami OUTGames … or NOT!

What an interesting few weeks we have had over here in Miami.  It’s been an intense period of time since the World Outgames announced on Friday that the entire Games had been cancelled before the opening Ceremony on Saturday.  As teams were travelling to Miami news began to filter through to ALL competitors that most of the sporting events were being cancelled due to mismanagement of funds by the organising body.  With no word from any official body (including GLISA) it was left to individual sports to rally together and try to scrape together an event out of nothing.

It was a huge credit to both Freezone Volleyball and Melbourne Spikers as the committee members of both clubs instantly stepped up to the mark to try and work towards rescuing the Volleyball event from not happening.  Communication was rapid between the two clubs and Sebastian Delfino, Stuart Mackay and Peter Furness became the force behind ‘how to rescue the volleyball competition’.  Phone calls were going crazy as we were all in transit to Miami and by the time we arrived we had secured the proposed venue, established an online Facebook presence and alternative registration page, been in contact with as many as 20 teams from the original 27 registered for the games, communicated with local organisers in local volleyball leagues in Miami Beach and begun working towards a budget and restoring the competition in it’s entirety. The trio of rescuers were joined by another competitor from Ontario Canada, David Muddiman who stepped up and created a new complete draw with 3 divisions and 4 days of full play that actually had more volleyball for everyone involved.

As we were arriving on the Friday of a long weekend public holiday in Miami we knew this was going to be a challenge.  With dogged determination Stuart, Sebba, David and Pete worked hard to try and source as much support as was possible with local contacts and business individuals coming to the fore and trying in their own way to ensure the games continued to happen.

By the time Sunday rolled around, there were 21 teams interested in joining in the new rogue volleyball competition and we had arranged for a budget of US$40 that would cover the costs of the venue and the operation costs.  The local Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce of Miami Beach were amazing in their support and logistical help in rescuing the tournament along with members of the South Florida Volleyball League and other local community members who had heard about the predicament and literally offered their time and energy to help create an international event.

Sunday 29th we were all meeting everyone for the first time at a local bar on the boulevard at Miami Beach.  Volleyballers from all over the world were coming in and enjoying the ambience and shows of the evening as we collected money and got names and teams registered for our new event.  Tuesday morning saw the players kicking off at the beach tournament which had been organised by another local beach club and then it was onto the University of Miami where we kicked off the Indoor Tournament

On the afternoon of the first day after the first few rounds of play you would never have known that days earlier this event was the cause of much anger and bitter disappointment.  But once the games started, there was happiness abounding in the gym with everyone doing what they had come to Miami to do.

It was such an amazing occurance that the crew from Australia (with our new Canadian Counterpart) had managed to pull off this event and create a good feeling amongst all the competitors who were there to enjoy playing volleyball.  At the end of it all, everyone had played more volleyball than they could handle with tired bodies littering the grounds of the gym as medal playoffs were in progress.  New friendships had been formed and the ‘party’ continued to roll on.

On the playing front Sydney was well represented with 4 teams in the B division and Kee Kum taking out a bronze medal in the Final against the FZ Pistons (yes an all aussie playoff).  In the beach competition there were medals in the C and B grade with Freezone Players taking out all medals in the B grade competition and also the silver medal in the C grade.

At the end of the day, the scene was a triumph of collaboration and commitment to ensuring that sport and cameraderie wins out in the end.  So very proud of the combination of the new Gay Volleyball Australia which saw our 2 clubs banding together to perform a rescue mission.

Now… time for a very well earned repose by a pool!

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Mardi Gras Mixer 2017

Another huge day for Freezone last Saturday as we hosted the annual Mardi Gras Mixer at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Halls across 9 courts of play and a full day of frantic volleyball action.  The event was hugely popular with 34 teams across 5 divisions and a full compliment of all levels of play and some brilliant volleyball on offer.

The Sports Halls Venue as always allows us to do our full catastrophe of organisational skill with catering, sound systems and, raffles and costumes all on offer from 9am – 6:30pm into the evening.  Its never a dull moment in the day and there were some very ‘special’ sights on offer as everyone got into the Mardi Gras Spirit.

With so many games on the cards, it was wonderful to have a supporting crew behind the desk with our committee members Louis Eudo and Rafael Montellanos giving their time and energy throughout the day.  The whole committee was active in running the events and we would like to make special mention to Stuart Mackay and Andrew Harris (along with the entire Pistons Crew) who helped with the lunch service, Jeffrey So for organising the Raffle prizes along with Mark Bennett and Offie Worarat for taking charge of the tickets.  As always the ever endearing Somkhit Jartnoi was out in force with the fruits and assisting with the lunch service as well.

Congratulations to all the teams for competing in a hectic schedule that had nearly everyone playing 5 games throughout the day.  It was very busy with duties and cross court play for 9 hours.  So gladly, everyone had had enough volleyball by the end of the tournament.

Our list below lists our winners and MVP’s.  We look forward to having all our supporters back in October for our annual Spring Fling at Netball Central.

RESULTS

Men’s A Grade
Gold:   Miss Thailand
Silver:   Acers Emerald
Bronze:   Spiked Punch
MVP:  Marie Skelton
Men’s B Grade
Gold:   MFS Pugs
Silver:  Acers
Bronze:   FZ Hornets
MVP:  Fabian Ma
Women’s Grade
Gold:   Acers
Silver:   ASIMS
Bronze:   Outsiders
MVP:   Ella Collins
Mixed A Grade
Gold:   Squish
Silver:   MFS
Bronze:   Hot Beaches
MVP:   Andrew Ko
Mixed B Grade
Gold:   Gundam
Silver:   Meerkats
Bronze:  QF Sonics
MVP:   Tommy Yap
Recreational Grade
Gold:  Yum Cha
Silver:   Acers Opal
Bronze:  Ball Busters
MVP:   Peter McCurdy
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Mardi Gras 2017

As always, Sydney comes alive with the onslaught of parties, events and parades in late Feb/early March.  THe annual Mardi Gras Festival launched on Sunday with the ever fabulous Fair Day taking place, this year returning to its old stomping grounds of Memorial Park in Camperdown.   Freezoine was there in force with our usual brigand of folks and paraphernalia and we had a lovely site in the sports village enjoying the various stalls and craziness that comes with Fair Day.  With teh change in venue we were unable to erect our Lawn Court this year but managed to get a few balls in the air and have some fun on the day.

 

This year we went electronic with our data sign up and got names and addresses down for our biggest annual membership recruitment for the year.  The day was resplendent in the sunshine and there was a lot of people roaming around and getting their dose of rainbow coloured love and joy.  The club had a measured interest this year owing to our position off the walking track but the volunteers did their best to bring as much ‘attention’ to our stall as possible.  Thanks to Mark, Andrew, Louis, Rafael and Dayle for being our reps and hanging around to bring attention and welcoming smiles to our stall.

Keep an eye out at trainings over the next few weeks as we have lots of eager newbies joining the sessions after our drive.  We hope to bring in some new talent and eager beavers for our 2017 calendar year.

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2017 Launches

The 2017 Volleyball year launched for Freezone on January 13th with the new years training on Sundays kicking off.  Everyone was keen to get going after the summer holidays and we had a healthy contingent taking the courts on our first training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course the big event was the following weekend in Melbourne with the Melbourne Spikers Summer Slam kicking off.  We had 3 full Freezone teams competing with Free Spirit and a mixed team of SS Whites in B Grade and FZ Pistons in A Grade.  It was a wonderful day as always and we had winners all round with Pistons nabbing the Bronze in A Grade and an MVP for Tommy Yap in B Grade.  It was also wonderful to have Aniek Nazagatam joining the SS Whites as special guest star now that she is living in Melbourne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new initiative for Freezone this year is a new pricing structure for trainings and the beginning of our new “4 Pass Card” that allows you to buy up to 4 trainigs at a time.  The club has had it’s first price hike ($2.50 per training) in over 10 years as costs have begun to creep up on us.  But the club is in a great position moving into the new Year with 2 trainings on Sundays and Wednesdays in Rockdale (with our super coach Oscar Konakoff).

 

Our Mardi Gras Mixer event is looking to be a big event and registrations have already begun to flood in.  9 courts and 34 teams this year is the goal and we are looking at selling this event out early in the year.  Get your registrations in and remember that Freezone Members get a special discount for the day.

 

Be sure to get your membership up to date for 2017 as we are going to be introducting lots more benefits for members including reduced training costs, sponsorships,

 

pre registrations and discounts for tournaments and access to special events throughout the year.  All memberships can be signed up for online via the website at http://www.freezonevolleyball.org/membership-2

 

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Manly Cup

Another great tournament was hosted at the Warriewood Indoor Sports Centre on the 16th and 17th April with two Freezone teams competing and numerous other members competing in other teams for the Manly Cup 2016.  As usual the competition was of a high level with only Honours and Division 1 level on offer.  The tournament had the largest amount of teams possible in the 4 court venue and play started at 8am on both days to complete the games.  35 teams with 86 games – and only 4 winners!

FZ Pistons and iTeam were on selection in Division 1, with both teams competing across different pools.  The days play opened with tough games for both sides playing early, mid afternoon and late games.  Both teams finished 2nd in their respective pools and had early games the next day with iTeam leaping out of the box to make it into the top group and moving onto finals progressions.  iTeam found their straps on the 2nd day finding cohesion between front and back court play and putting together penetrating, offensive hitting.  Making it through to the top tier and then winning their early morning matches to go into the bronze medal playoff.

FZ Pistons were down to only 6 players due to illness and thus were able to try new and different combinations of play.  It was a great way for the team to give people a chance to play in different positions and try new things.  The team managed to rally really well in their matches though they did come to the conclusion that they weren’t an ‘early start team’.  That being said, they came back on the sunday with the determination to ‘play hard and aggressive’ for the first 10points of the first game and it seemed to work, coming out ahead in the first game.  It’s amazing what a mindset change can do for your skill at 8am on a Sunday morning!  That and lots of coffee.

After a very convincing 2nd day in the pools for iTeam they were through tot the medal finals playoffs for the afternoon session.  They were easily dispatching of their opponenets in the morning matches where everything just ‘came together’ according to Tian Liu captain.  The afternoon saw them progress to the bronze medal playoff against the formidable Sydney North side, a team who have played together consistently and were always going to be difficult to beat.  The first set was all the Sydney North’s way but the second set was a very different matter with close point for point play and iTeam keeping in touch throughout the set. Ultimately, the boys couldn’t quite get the better of their opponents in the afternoon bronze medal final and they went down to 25-27 in a nailbiting finish.

Many thanks to Chris Proffitt and his team at Manly Warringah Volleyball club, another wonderful and successful tournament and we look forward to competing in the new venue next year with more courts on offer at the newly renovated Warringah Indoor Sports Centre.

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VOSTOK CUP #2

One of our local Sydney clubs VOSTOK have begun to make a resurgence with tournament play featuring in the local volleyball scene and last weekend, a bunch of Freezoners went along to play in the 2nd VOSTOK CUP out at the Australian National Sports Centre in Lakemba.  The tournament was a low key affair with a 6 team pool in the men’s division, playing opposite the women at the 2 court venue.

The team from Freezone made up of

various members from our Wednesday Night Squad training and was a great chance for some of our players to play at a slightly higher and competitive level.  Going with the Russion theme, the Volley Stoli’s played 4 games across the day and took our the bronze medal in the men’s division.  Scott Baker, Jensen Yang, Zara Malakool, Adam Rogers, Laurent Auclair, Louis Eudo, Mark Bennett and Mdm President herself took to the court and played heartily against other local teams.

It was a great chance to bring some of our Squad members together and see how well a team that hasn’t played together, does in a competitive environment.  Even against the heavily powered Vostok team, we held our own.  Adam Rogers and Zara Malakool acquitting themselves most adeptly with some brilliant play and fast quick attacking at the net.  Everyone had a good thrash at the game and some great fun points were had with surprising results for some of us.

It was a really grand and wonderful day that allowed us to put into practice the skills and drills that coach Oscar has been working on with the crew on Wednesday nights.  And of course, the chance to get to hang out and enjoy the event socially – even if it was just on the lawns of Rockdales ample grounds.  The hot dogs were definetly worth it and even the coffee wasn’t bad!

Congratulations Stoli’s and here’s to a few more thumping events of really social volleyball and having a crack.

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Lawn Volleyball Pre Season

Been hankering for some pre season volleyball?

Freezone Volleyball will be operating LAWN VOLLEYBALL EVENINGS before the Sunday training session starts on January 17th and before the UTS social season gets underway for 2016.

Where:   Blackwattle Bay Lawns

Date:   Thursday 7th Jan/14th Jan

Time:   6:00pm – 9:00

Cost:    $10.00

Transport:  Bus 431 from Central Station – go to end of the line / Tram towards Dulwich Hill – Stop at Jubilee Park Tram Stop.  Walk north to Lawns.

Teams will comprise of 4 people.  Registration at 6:00pm sharp.  Individuals welcome.  Play until dusk.

Come along and enjoy the balmy summer evenings on our new Lawn/Beach courts.

More information:  president@freezonevolleyball.org

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Freezone Xmas Party and Annual Presentations 2015

December 6th was the last Sunday Training for 2015 and it took place in the glorious summer sunshine at Moore Parklands opposite our usual venue at Sydney Boys High School, with over 40 members arriving to honour the year gone and Freezone’s achievements.

The sun was out, the BBQ was set and the new outdoor nets that we have purchased from Gregor Salvin at www.beachvolleyball.com.au were a treat to have on the day as we prepped ourselves for a wonderful afternoon of sunshine, lawn volleyball, snags and burgers with a few choice beverages on hand.

The Presentation side of things got off to a flying start with a big thank you to the Freezone Committee whose energy and drive were noted and recognised by Mdm President herself.  It was wonderful to have most of the committee on hand to receive the recognition for the work achieved this year.

2015 has taken the club to record heights with our biggest Tournament ever in October, multiple teams in State Cups across mutliple divisions this year, representations at BHV Regional and Sydney Cups, Melbourne Spikers and Good Neighbour Tournaments and even representation at the AVL level.   We have grown in number and begun to incorporate more membership benefits and a wider net of members via interstate connections as well as our regular Wednesday night training sessions with our coach Oscar Konakoff.

It was great to have 2 of our Life Members at the event with Barry Webb and Julias Grant in attendance.  The long history of the club began with Barry and it was an honour to have him on hand to present one of the awards.   Similarly, it was great to have the ‘Grande Dame’ in Julias Grant who still continues to play competitively into his ‘junior years’.  We are very fortunate to have such iconic representations of our history still in touch with the club.

New faces abounded at the social day and it was encouraging to see some faces returning, including some of our international contingent and newer pe0ple who have not been here long, coming and enjoying the frivolities.

The 2015 Premier and Executive Awards were handed out as well with Executive Awards receiving honorary Club Membership as well as SVNSW Membership covered by the club in recognition for contributions and individual achievement.  Our Premier Awards also receive complimentary Club Membership.

Executive Awards
Best Freezoner – Laurent Auclair
Most Valuable Player – Dave Beliveau
Presidents Award – JM Montellano

Premier Awards
Best Newbie – Scott Baker
Most Improved – Mercury J.Bride
Supporters Award – Zara Malakool

And as the year wound to a close, we partied on into the evening and those few left standing did the club proud, tripping the light fantastic at multiple venues in the Sydney Sunday evening glow.

As always, we are grateful and proud to be associated with our primary sponsor ACON who have continued to help fund the club’s activities and show us support in our LGBTQI community.

We are looking forward to the new year with a great excitement with our popular tournaments set to continue, representations at our many tournaments and also many more social activities to get involved with.

We wish all a safe and wonderful festive season and hope that the new year brings you all back to the gym, healthy, wonderfully wistful and eager for more action!

Safe and happy holidays all!

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Marie Skelton in AVL Finals in Melbourne

It’s not too often that we get to brag about Freezone’s Representational accolades but in the closing series of the AVL Women’s Finals in Melbourne last weekend, Freezone’s own Marie Skelton featured in the team from UTSSU representing NSW in the AVL taking on the University Blues from Victoria in the series final on Sunday.  Since returning to Australia from the States, Marie has been active across the volleyball scene in Sydney and has been a face around Freezone, playing mainly with the Studs on Thursday nights but also with the Pistons at away and State Tournaments regularly.  Marie has a healthy 21 years of volleyball experience behind her having played AA level in the United States in her prime and has been a sought after coach and trainer at University level both here in Australia and in the United States.  UTSSU went down to the Blues in a thrilling 5 set final on Sunday afternoon after having been up 2 – 0 in the opening of the final.  Backing up a 5 set game on the previous semi final the day before is always tough at this level and the team did suffer an injury or two in teh opening stages of the final and that proved a tipping point for the team, going down 10/15 in the 5th set.  Its an amazing feat by Marie to be still playing at this level and being so competitive and Freezone is very proud to have the club represented at such a high level of volleyball.  Congratulations Marie and well done UTSSU for a brilliant AVL 2015.

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Good Neighbour 2015

The annual pilgrimage to the nations capital took place over the last weekend in November where 4 teams from Freezone headed along the Hume Highway bound for the 50th Annual Good Neighbour Tournament run by Volleyball ACT.  This 2 day tournament sees play across mutliple divisions and has a huge and healthy following of teams from all around the country.

Freezone was represented in Division 2 with the Pistons, 2 x teams in Division 3 with the Zephyr Studs and Spiked Punch and Freespirit brining up the colours of the club in Division 4.  It was a wonderfully successful tournament for the club with 2 medal winners, Spiked Punch taking out silver in Div3 and Freespirit also getting silver in Div 4.  We had a healthy sprinkling of other Freezone faces amongst some of the other teams competing as well, so the club was ‘out in force’.

The event is a wonderful chance for Freezone teams to cut it with the wider volleyball community of Australia and having the chance to play against all manner of teams from Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and of course NSW and the ACT.  The 50th anniversary tournament was a great achievement of longevity and operating one of Australia’s most popular tournaments on the volleyball calendar.

Play took place across multiple venues, so keeping up with everyone was a manner of lots of texting, messaging and Facebook tagging.  Most teams got to get around and support each other when they were playing with breaks throughout the day giving everyone the chance to check each other’s progress and watch some healthy competition.  Some great games were had and particularly in the finals where Freezone teams were pushed to the limit by opponents and tight games ensued.   This is a tournament of great significance that allows the club to stretch its wings and experience.

It was such a wonderful event to be part of the ‘sisterhood’ that takes the Freezone name and ethos into the community.  Playing against such a variety of other teams and having our profile as a LGBTI club proudly displayed at such a national tournament is a great platform for our goals of bringing tolerance and inclusion into the sporting arena.  Well done and congratulations to ALL our competing teams and players – you certainly did the club very proud.


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Red Ribbon Day

Sat 14th November saw some of the club members helping out with our primary sponsor ACON, in preparation for their upcoming RED RIBBON DAY for World Aids Day on Dec 1st.  The crew decided on an afternoon shift to head on down to Acon House and sit around making the ribbons for Dec 1st.  It was a little bit like an old ladies knitting circle, complete with iced VoVo’s and Mint Slices on the tables.  The crew was a friendly collection of volunteers and even some of the other sporting clubs came along to help.  We were hosted by the wonderful Maria Christodoulou and the crew from ACON, complete with Trivia Goddess Naomi Palmer leading the entertainment as we cut, folded and pinned our way to over 10,000 ribbons ready to sell for Dec 1st.

The club presence was wonderful to see and the appreciation from ACON was evident.  Thanks to our small crew and to the Freezone Board for providing much needed refreshments afterwards for a hard afternoon of craft extravaganza!  Thanks to Scott, Cameron, Anthony, Louis, Laurent, Stuart and Ricardo for your support and for supporting our primary sponsor for their major fundraising drive for the year.  

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Spring Tournament 2015

Oct 3rd was a huge day out at Homebush where over 270+ participants competed across 6 divisions including our first ever All Women’s Draw on a full day of activity that started at 8:30am and went right through til 6:30pm.  It was wonderful to have so much interest in our tournaments as they have continued to grow and expand and this year we crossed a threshold for the first time, taking on extra zones to compete across 11 courts in total!  With so many teams it was something of a logistical rubiks cube but thankfully the day went off without too many hitches and 40 teams competed for medals and placings in Freezones biggest tournament to date.

It was wonderful to welcome our interstate teams from Melbourne Spikers and the ACT Dragons who each brought teams in various divisions.  Many new faces took to the courts and a high level of competition was experienced around the stadium.  Teams that were supposed to be in finals, didn’t quite make it there which is always a good sign that every team had some challenging matches and no-one was assured of an easy run.

With our first ever Women’s Draw, we were so excited to have 6 teams competing including a few new teams from the Blue Bees and Sydney Vostok as well as teams made up from some of our own ranks of the Wednesday night squad and Sunday Trainings.  This was a landmark draw for Freezone and one we hope to continue encouraging and building on.  Thanks to the relentless insistence from Joe Sleiman at Baulkham Hills, it was a great day where the ladies finally got to play on a net that was ‘their height’ and we were thrilled to have our first ever complete womens draw.

The mixed division was very difficult to judge and so a pool approach sorted out our higher level teams against each other in the BB pool and saw some tight matches in the medal playoffs for the B grade pool.  As always our mixed division continues to provide a wonderful opportunity for friends to play with friends and enjoy the cameraderie of a mixed tournament that stands our tournament in such high esteem across the local volleyball community.

It was wonderful to have such staunch support from our local clubs, especially as there are so many tournament on offer now and at this busy time of the year.  So thank you to all the presidents and reps of our local Sydney teams that supported us and helped us achieve the goal of an ever growing tournament experience.

We look forward to 2016 with a renewed determination to provide a similar tournament in October with more courts resulting in more teams playing and more fun filled experiences for our growing family of teams.  Our Mardi Gras Tournament is billed for Feb 27th in light of the recent changes made to the scheduling which will see the famous “Harbour Party” being replaced by a greater number of smaller parties on that weekend.  This will mean our tournament will take place in the middle weekend of the Mardi Gras Festival.  So make sure to bring your glam costumes and dancing shoes, and then have some going out gear to join the part afterwards.

Of course tournaments don’t happen on their own and so I would like to make a special mention to the fabulous Freezone Committee who did a wonderful job assisting and creating a seamless event.  I would like to thank SVNSW, in particular Constantina Ladas for support in securing venue and assisting with set up.  It was great to have such help on the day and support from our State Body.  Also a big thank you to Yuthakarn Chakping, Somkhit Jartnoi, Julias Grant and Offie Chumsuwan for organising the lunch. Louis and Stuart who did a stunning job on the raffle and as always, our wonderful tournament director Bob Konakoff and the wonderful Kirsty Alexander who stepped in to help as Master Scorekeeper.

February 27th is our proposed date for the Mardi Gras Mixer 2016 and places will be limited.  It may not be as big an event but it will definetly have some mardi gras spirit!  We will be looking to make the Spring Fling 2016 just as wonderful an event and hope that you will all come back for more action and fun with Freezone.

RESULTS:

Men’s A Grade:

Gold:           ASIMS

Silver          MISS THAILAND

Bronze        FREESPIRIT

MVP           EVAN (FREESPIRIT)

Womens Grade

Gold           CON AND THE GIRLS

Silver         DIGGERS

Bronze      BHV OMELETTES

MVP         SUNNY (SALT)

Men’s B Grade:

Gold:         SPIKED PUNCH

Silver        LEGENDS

Bronze      ITCHY BITCHY

MVP         SEUL GI LEE  (ITCHY BITCHY)

Mixed BB Grade:

Gold          TEAM KAN

Silver        QUACK

Bronze      MFS

MVP         NICK CAIRNS (QANTAS ROCKETS)

Mixed B Grade

Gold          VOLLEY VIPERS

Silver        PFC

Bronze      BHV MU

MVP          SUNNY (SALT)

C Grade

Gold            CHAKA MO

Silver          QANTAS SONICS

Bronze        TERRY ANGELS

MVP           ODIN CASTRO (CHAKA MO)

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Freezone Pandas compete at State Cup Newcastle.

During the weekend of May 9 & 10, Freezone Pandas joined a couple of other Freezone teams in the journey North to Newcastle for the second round of the SVNSW 2015 State Cup series. FZ Pandas were competing in the Men’s Division 2, and was made up up of both some old pandas and some new additions. Most of the team members had been busy training for a few weeks together on Wednesday nights at the Freezone squad training sessions.

It was with some nervous enthusiasm that the team arrived at the Newcastle basketball stadium just after lunch on the Saturday. We were able to see FZ Pistons play a great Div 1 game, and cheer FZ Phoenix in their games as well. There were 4 first timers in our team of 8 who were new  to the State Cup experience. It was exciting to see 5 courts and many top teams in action for the rest of the afternoon before we eventually got to play our first matches of the day at 4pm and then 5pm. FZ Pandas competed strongly in both matches, against  UTS & Newcastle. The scores may not have reflected a win, but FZ Pandas took it up to them, and forcing both teams to fight it out for the win. Mitch Mac was hitting strongly in the first match from the outside position, strongly supported by Mala as the Middle hitter and star blocker. Our setters Khit & Yumi were supplying the balls well in the second match to JM in the outside position and his athletic leaping was winning points and keeping the games alive. He was supported by the middle blocking and hitting of big Willy.  We were able to keep the middle players refreshed by subbing in Cameron for both Mark and Willy.

It was a strong Division 2 with six teams competing in 2 pool and  after a late finish of 615pm on the Saturday, it was time to find our accommodation and get some dinner at the Tillgerry RSL club. There was no chance for any late night drinking or fun, because it would be an early start on Sunday, as our first cross over matches were at 8am and 10am. In the first game FZ Pandas were able to almost take a game off of the Blue Bees team with a score of 23-25 in the first game. We had Offie now joining our team as setter, supported by Khit and Yumi in the universal position. There was some great defending from all players with  Mitch Mac diving all over the court, and Mala blocking like a boss in the middle.

The second match started well, and FZ Pandas winning the first game 25-23, with JM & Mitch Mac attacking well from outside, supported by Mala and big Willy hitting well from the middle. The whole team defended well to keep the points alive. Unfortunately towards the end of this first game, we had to use an extraordinary sub, to replace Offie who was cut on the eyebrow after the net pole fell off after being hit. The second game didn’t start much better, with big Willy having to sub off for Cameron in the first 5 minutes after tearing a muscle in his upper arm when going for an outstretched dig. Offie was able to return as our libero player and the game play settled down into a regular rhythm. It was a close second game but the mojo of the first game was lost and  in the final scores FZ Pandas lost this match on points count back.

In the end, it was a fun tournament, with some great game play from FZ Pandas across the weekend. We may not have come away with a medal, but we certainly showed some great team effort in the matches we played that made our  opponents (mostly younger and fitter) dig deep in the matches that we played against them.

Andrew Wilmot.

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