BONNYVILLE – It wasn’t the finish they hoped for, but both the École Notre Dame High School senior girls' and the Cold Lake Assumption senior boys' team left their heart and sweat on the courts during the 2A ASAA Provincial volleyball tournament.
The Notre Dame girls travelled to St. Mary’s School in Taber from Nov. 25-27, where the top 10 2A senior teams in the province competed for gold medals.
Making it to the bronze medal game, the Notre Dame girls played three sets but missed the podium by a narrow margin against Vauxhaull High School.
“While we definitely had a podium finish set as a team goal, I was incredibly happy with the performance of our team. We elevated our game to a new level to compete at provincials and every single player on the roster made a positive impact in some way throughout the weekend,” said Scott Cameron, the coach for Notre Dame’s senior girls' team.
The Bonnyville team got off to a strong start, winning both their Thursday pool games. The Notre Dame girls managed to sweep the Edmonton Christian and Sexsmith Secondary teams 2-0.
Throughout Friday, the girls kept up their winning streak, until they faced Magrath School who would go on to will gold at provincials. Finishing second in the tournaments Pool A, the Notre Dame girls convincingly took the win during the quarter-finals.
The Notre Dame girls lost their Saturday afternoon semi-final against Calgary Christian, who had won Pool B with a perfect 4-0 record.
“While our squad battled neck and neck to 15 points in both sets, Calgary Christian managed to edge away late both times, handing us the defeat, 20-25, 17-25, and a spot in the bronze medal game,” said Cameron.
Cameron describes the bronze medal match against Vauxhall as a thriller with both teams trading big swings.
Losing the first set and rallying back in the second, it came right down to the wire with Vauxhaull narrowly emerging 15-12 in the third set.
“There were a few times earlier this season in tournament play where I felt we maybe played scared or tentative in bigger moments. I didn't see that this weekend. We were laser focused and always up for the challenge in front of us. I'm very proud of the girls for that,” he said.
With only two graduating players on École Notre Dame's 12-player roster this season, Cameron points out that the three teams that took the top three spots were all led by a large core of Grade 12 players.
“While those two athletes (Cadence Lowe and Leanne DeAbreu), were a big part of our success this season, it certainly bodes well for next year,” said Cameron. “The lessons learned this past weekend should serve us well and make us more battle-tested, should we get the opportunity to compete at Provincials again next season.”
Hosting the Boys’ Provincial 2A tournament, the Assumption senior boys’ team didn’t have to travel far to compete during the last weekend of November.
The tournament saw highs and lows for the Cold Lake team, seeing early morning success on both Thursday and Friday playing against Matthew Halton High School and Holy Redeemer, their afternoon matches didn’t land the same way.
On Thursday, the Assumption boys lost two close sets against Strathcona–Tweedsmuir, while on Friday afternoon the team saw a hard loss to Calgary Christian.
Arriving to the quarter finals fresh on Saturday morning, Assumption took La Crete to three sets in a back-and-forth battle. In the end the boys lost the final set 10-15 against La Crete, who went on to win gold at provincials.