WESTLOCK – The Westlock 15U boys volleyball team fought their way to a provincial title in Division 2 at the 2022 Volleyball Alberta Provincial Championships and have punched their ticket to nationals.
The Westlock Falcons downed Fog Red in three sets, losing the first 22-25, then winning the next two 25-21 and 15-11 to take the gold medal at the Van Vilet Complex at the University of Alberta, May 7-8.
“They had a really good season together — they actually were able to play in system, just like any older team would,” said head coach Aaron Graf. “It was pretty impressive.”
Graf said the club was continually able to improve during the year and worked hard on their system which led to their ultimate success.
“They beat a team that they had lost to in the regular season to get to that final game. It was something else to watch,” he said noting his team’s stellar performance in the semifinals. “That was the best game that they played all year. We were probably one of the strongest teams in Division 2 going into (provincials) and we were able to perform in the semifinals and gold medal match.”
The club had a good regular season and were ranked 14th in the province, after a couple of losses bumped them from Division 1 at the end of the regular season.
“Some kids had never even played (volleyball) before, just because of COVID. I wanted to give them a chance to play in a rural community like their hometown,” said Graf. They participated in three premiere tournaments this season before winning the Division 2 provincial title, which earned them a spot at the national championships in Edmonton May 19-21.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids,” said Graf, adding they’ll play teams from Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Quebec among others.
Graf said with such a dedicated, skilled group of volleyball players, the future looks bright.
“I think it’s awesome for the community in general,” said Graf. “Next year with 16U we should have what I think is a Top 8 team throughout the whole season and potentially moving onto another championship in Division 1 this time. They’re a very strong group of kids and I’m really looking forward to coaching them again.”