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Senior boys and girls prepare for zones

After two-and-a-half months of preparation, the Edwin Parr Composite (EPC) senior volleyball Angels will put everything on the table at 3A senior volleyball zones this weekend in Barrhead.
Sarah Windeler prepares for a bump during match at the EPC Senior Volleyball Tournament held at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex and EPC gym in early October
Sarah Windeler prepares for a bump during match at the EPC Senior Volleyball Tournament held at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex and EPC gym in early October

After two-and-a-half months of preparation, the Edwin Parr Composite (EPC) senior volleyball Angels will put everything on the table at 3A senior volleyball zones this weekend in Barrhead.

It’s been an interesting season for the Angels, who haven’t been able to crack the top two spots in any of the seven tournaments they’ve attended this season, but that hasn’t meant the Angels didn’t threaten in each and every tournament.

“It’s been a little bit of an up-and-down season, but in our last two tournaments we lost out in the semi-finals both times,” explained Glenda Gray, head coach of the Angels.

The Angels finished third in both of those tournaments

From Oct. 29-31, the girls played in a Westlock-hosted tournament against five other zone teams they will be facing this weekend. In that tournament, the Angels split sets with four of the five teams, which should be a good omen in their upcoming matches against the same teams.

Playing against 10 other zone teams this weekend, it’s going to be a tough task for the Angels to come out as the number-one team, and with the dominance that top teams like Barrhead have shown in the past, Gray and her team have set a goal of cracking the top four.

This year’s relatively young Angel team has had to deal with plenty of lineup changes and tweaks during the seven tournaments, but that is where the senior girls have excelled, said Gray.

“In the past, the girls have been a little afraid to try different attacking methods, but this year, these girls are more than willing to try attacks from the back, quick strikes and a variety of offensive tactics.

“It’s more exciting to see the girls play a little more gutsy than they have before,” she explained.

Being able to adapt to their positions has taken time, but as the girls finished up their last tournament this past weekend in Peace River, Gray hopes everything has finally come together in time to compete at zones.

“We haven’t always had the same lineup this year, but the girls have been very capable of working well together and they are starting to become more comfortable on the court,” she noted.

Without any exhibition games during the week, the Angels’ season has consisted only of practices and tournaments. But according to Gray, coaching has been a joy.

“Regardless of what situation they are in, the girls play hard and are really supportive of each other. It’s been really easy coaching them this year,” she exclaimed.

Junior varsity Angels claim third at zones

The junior varsity Angels lost to the eventual zone champions from Barrhead in a semi-final match that saw them lose a tight game in the third set, 15-13.

The loss in zones ends the season for the junior varsity Angels, but it was a memorable season for the girls to look back on.

“Zones were really exciting at times, but at other times, it got really emotional knowing that it was our last tournament. Our team played beyond excellent and I'm going to miss everyone on our team -- but not the 57 dive lines,” exclaimed Mikaela Minkus, captain of the team.

The junior Angels can thank their head coach, Wade Hicks, for those 57 dive lines, where players must go to the ground on their stomachs, touch the end line and get back up and repeat, that were ushered in over practices during the year.

“Thanks Hicks,” chuckled Minkus.

Senior boys head to zones this weekend

The senior Pacers will join their female counterparts in Barrhead this week for zones in hopes of coming out on top.

The Pacers played in Edson from Nov. 5-7 and finished fifth without two of their starting players, Ben Shopland and Mitch Carswell.