WESTLOCK — After winning their respective zone championships two weeks earlier, R.F. Staples School (RFS) and Pembina North Community School’s (PNCS) junior high volleyball teams collected two silvers and a bronze at the Pembina Hills Public School (PHPS) Division 1 Volleyball Championship.
Thirteen junior high teams from around the region converged on the Rotary Spirit Centre Nov. 15 to vie for supremacy, with RFS scoring two silver medals and PNCS winning bronze on the boys’ side of the draw, while the girls finished fourth – for the record, Neerlandia took gold on the girls’ side of the draw in three sets over RFS, while Barrhead won the boys half in three sets over RFS. Coming into divisionals, both the Panthers and T-Birds came in as their respective zone champs, winning 1J and 3J titles Nov. 10.
“It was an unbelievable season for these kids. They brought home a lot of hardware this year,” said RFS boys head coach Jessica Stevens. “They’re a really good group of kids. They worked hard. We had so much talent in that group.”
“It was great volleyball in the playoffs,” added RFS girls head coach Kyle Beattie. “The girls played amazing … although a win would have been nice they had a great time in the playoffs knowing they played the game really well and left it all on the court.”
PNCS boys head coach Mike Ivey said they had a bit of a slow start to the tournament, losing the first two games which set them up for a tougher opponent in the quarterfinals, but they managed to beat Neerlandia to move onto the semifinals against Barrhead Composite High School. The boys played Covenant Canadian Reformed School (Neerlandia) in the bronze medal game.
“We had pretty strong showings from both of our (PNCS) teams — there was good competition at this tournament,” said Ivey. “We had a really good year. We’ve improved a ton and we’re pretty happy with how our team did.”
It was the same kind of effort for the PNCS girls’ team, who narrowly missed out on bronze and finished fourth. Head coach Sarah Hall said she was happy with how the girls played despite losing in three sets to Swan Hills.
“It just wasn’t our day to accomplish what we wanted to, but they had so much fun in the tournament,” said Hall. “Overall, throughout the season they really came together as a team and individually.”