WESTLOCK – Westlock’s U13 Tigers couldn’t be caged at the Volleyball Alberta U13 Tier 3 Provincial Championships, besting 15 other teams to claim their first-ever club volleyball provincial title.
Played at Rally Pointe in Calgary April 23-24, the girls opened the two-day event with a 2-1 record in the round robin before their run to the finals that saw them defeat Vertical Limit, the SAS Wolves, the Central Alberta Wolves and finally Canada West Black, 25-20, 25-11, in the Sunday-afternoon final.
Coach Kyle Beattie said the girls couldn’t be happier with their showing, saying they continued to improve throughout the season and were able to stay focused at provincials.
There’s about 60 U13 girls club volleyball teams in the province which are divided into four tiers — the Tigers wound up in Tier 3 after playing four tournaments over the year that included a silver medal finish at a First Premier, North Division, Tier 2 event in Leduc and a fourth-place finish at their home tourney back in February.
“They’re happy to have played really well over the weekend and are very proud of themselves. We were evenly matched in the finals, but the girls peaked at the right time and worked hard and never let the ball hit the floor,” said Beattie.
The majority of the Tigers are underage players, meaning they can return for another season of U13 — Beattie said he’s hopeful they can find a few more girls and offer two teams in 2023 as he carried 13 players this season. U13 is the first-year kids are allowed to play club volleyball, which is offered in the triple-ball format that sees a tossed ball introduced to play every second and third rally.
“We haven’t decided if we’re moving up or not. I expect interest will continue to rise for club volleyball so if we can gather a few more coaches next year maybe we could offer teams at U13 and U14,” he continued. “With three more girls we could have two teams of eight and that would work fine. It’s just the number of coaches in the community which is the limiting factor.”