The Ronnie Richard Memorial Tournament hosted by JAWS at schools and held all over Lac La Biche this past weekend showcased talent from 16 girls and 14 boys’ high school volleyball teams. The tournament champs were both the girls and boys teams from Assumption Junior/Senior High School in Cold Lake.
The JAWS boys held their own this weekend, finishing second overall.
“We played in the final, but lost to Assumption in two games,” said coach Kevin Biollo, adding that the scores for those games were 25-23 and 25-19. “We played really well all weekend though; the other teams were really strong.”
He said the highlight of the tournament was their semi-final game against Mallaig. JAWS was down 23-18, but Biollo said they stepped it up and won the set 26-24, and won the second set 25-18.
“Those were our toughest matches and, for a coach, it was great to see them rise to the occasion.” He added that the back row played great defense.
JAWS boys play again in Cold Lake the first weekend in November.
The JAWS girls played really hard this weekend, winning all their games in the round robin and placing first in their pool. They lost in the semi-final to Father Merc from Fort McMurray.
“All in all, the girls played really well,” said coach Ryan Biollo. “Fort McMurray came to play and they came to win.”
He said the team had the opportunity to play a few of their zone teams and won many of those games pretty easily, so it was a good indication of what is to come at zones.
JAWS girls will play at a tournament in Cold Lake the first weekend of November.
Coach Paul Harnish was happy with his Plamondon boys team, who finished solidly in 8th place at the tournament.
“We played three games on Friday and lost all six sets,” said Harnish. “We lost four of them by two points. So we refocused on Saturday and won our first three games, which put us in the B Final.”
The team lost to BCHS from Bonnyville, but Harnish said he was pleased to finish in 8th considering they are a small 2A school, so it felt good to finish in the top 10.
“The boys really pulled together this weekend and played as a team, so I think this was a fair finishing.”
The Plamondon boys play next at a tournament in Swan Hills this weekend.
Plamondon girls coach Steven Reid said his team worked really hard this past weekend and that it was a tough tournament. They finished in Tier 3, beating Notre Dame but losing to Boyle.
“I was happy with how we played,” said Reid. “For us it was great to play some bigger schools and hold our own.”
The team plays next at a tournament in Swan Hills this weekend.
Ecole Beausejour girls finished second in their pool and played the quarter-final with JAWS.
They were Tier 2 champs, but lost both sets to HA Kostash from Smoky Lake, placing 7th overall.
“For a small school, we did alright,” said coach Andre Content. “It was a good way to get ready for our next tournament.”
Ecole Beusejour girls play next in Bonnyville this weekend.
The tournament was named in honour of a local man who passed away recently after a courageous battle with cancer. Ronnie Richard was an avid fan of local sports and was a well-known and respected official on the diamonds and the courts for many local sporting events.
“We wanted to commemorate Ron’s 30 years as an official and advisor,” said JAWS principal Terry Moghrabi. “We hope continue on his legacy by naming MVPs in his honour – officials are the ones who pick MVPs at games – so the t-shirts given to MVPs have memorial armbands.”
The trophy from the tournament, which was won by Cold Lake, also reflected this recognition. Elements from past tournaments were also reinvented for this memorial tournament, including the old name – WOW POW – and bringing back the old mascot, Lotsa Luck, in memory of Ron.
“We will continue to remember him in subsequent tournaments with the naming of MVPs in his memory,” said Moghrabi.
Richard’s parents Ida and Brian were also present at the naming of MVP presentation at the conclusion of the tournament on Saturday. Richard’s brother and JAWS Vice Principal Maurice Richard said he is touched by the commemoration and said his brother would have really appreciated being recognized.
“He really enjoyed being an official for volleyball and for softball,” said Richard. “And he was good at it. He understood what officiating was all about. He started right out of high school and did it for 30 years.”