FOUR Taunton Volleyball Club members tasted national glory with the South West at the weekend, as they went all the way at the Volleyball England Under-18 Inter-Regional Championship.

The South West U17 side had a strong Taunton flavour to it, with Kaja Jankowska, Holly Lovell-Fox, Georgia McGovern and Catherine Tolley all in the squad.

The South West had come third in the last three years, and this was the last chance for three of the Taunton players – Jankowska, McGovern and Tolley – to win the tournament, as they will be too old next year.

Jankowska captained the team, with Lovell-Fox and Tolley as vice-captains, and they made a strong start by winning their three group matches, against London, the South East and the East Midlands.

They then saw off the East region in the quarter-finals, to set up a last four clash with the East Midlands.

There were no nerves from the South West in the semi-final, though, as they won convincingly, by two sets to nil (25-13, 25-18).

The final pitted them against a strong North West team, who were defending their title, but it was the Taunton players and their team-mates who made the better start, finishing the first set on a 10-2 run to clinch it 25-22.

The reigning champions responded strongly, though, claiming the second set 25-19 to force a decider.

As in the previous sets, the South West started slowly, but they held their nerve to triumph 15-11 and become national champions.

As well as the gold medals for the team, there was an individual accolade for McGovern, who won MVP (most valuable player) for the tournament.

Taunton club coach Jurek Jankowski said: “It was a great weekend for the South West U17s, especially for four of my Taunton Volleyball Club members.

“The Taunton girls were carrying the huge club disappointment of not finishing in the top four of the National Under-18 competition back in March.

“It has been a motivator to have one large push for success and show their mettle at a high-profile national competition, this time with the regional squad.

“They are the longest serving players in the club and deserve all the success they can get.

“Their standard of play and experience made them starters in all the games, and they had a huge part to play in the overall success of the South West squad.”

Significant as this achievement is for the South West, it looks far from the end of the story for the bright Taunton prospects.

McGovern, for example, has played for both England’s junior and senior squads, while Lovell-Fox has been playing for England cadets.

For more information on the club, and how to join, visit the club Facebook or Twitter pages.

Training sessions run at Wellsprings Leisure Centre on Tuesday afternoons/evenings, run by Volleyball England-certified coaches, for both Under-17s and adults.