On a night where more than half the team was being recognized, the emotions of playing one final game at home would be buffered somewhat by earning a huge victory over a big rival.
The Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) Broncs senior girls volleyball team defeated Stettler in four sets (25-13, 12-25, 25-22, 25-21) on Nov. 2, which also served as head coach Ron Labrie’s opportunity to show his appreciation to the graduating senior players.
Six of the club’s 10 players — Jessica Whitebear, Emily Hagemann, Kianna Green, Kennedy Hackett, Gracyn Bonnett and Chloe Labrie — took part in their final match at home and as has been the case for many years, Labrie took time before the match to salute those players.
Whitebear, who is heading off next year to the University of Lethbridge, Labrie mentioned her motivation and athletic excellence are two things he will miss.
“She is quiet as a mouse, but has a massive competitive drive to do her best,” he said, noting Whitebear is also involved in hockey, badminton, track, cross country running and modeling. “She also loves her family and values their support in all of her endeavours.”
For Hagemann, Labrie spoke about her unwavering dedication.
“Despite being injured (due to a knee injury), she never missed a practice and her amazing family never missed cheering,” he stated, adding Hagemann is off to MacEwan next year.
Green is another one that is off to MacEwan and Labrie explained she was without a doubt the most improved player.
“Her tireless work ethic in everything she does is a testament to her outstanding character,” he said. “She is also a terrific artist and possesses loads of creativity. She designed and handmade our Wonder Woman warm-up t-shirts this season.”
Being positive is what Labrie feels made Hackett, who is off to the University of Alberta, extremely valuable to the club.
“She jumps through the gym and always has a positive attitude, regardless of the challenges that I have put on her. She has played virtually every position and has done so with excellence,” he stated.
Meanwhile this year’s captain, Bonnett — who is also off to MacEwan — has a heart filled with determination.
“I have appreciated your devotion to ‘team above self’ and your willingness to play many roles this season, I’m extremely grateful for your efforts in leading this team,” he added.
Lastly, Labrie’s daughter Chloe — who is heading to the U of A — has an excellent volleyball intelligence and has dealt very well with the unique dad/coach dynamic.
“She has been a force for us in the middle all season. I’ll miss coaching you and seeing you grow through this amazing game,” he said.
Serve receive — The victory that night put the Broncs in third, a great spot to be heading to the zone playoffs on Nov. 18, but it wasn’t as easy as the scores may indicate. The team wasn’t as consistent as Labrie would have liked to have seen and ended up calling both of his third set timeouts early, forcing the players to figure things out themselves on the court and they managed to regain their composure enough for the win.
With zones over a week away, Labrie will put the girls through some rigorous practices and a couple of exhibition matches versus some alumni in order to ‘fine tune’ the team and ensure the players are all on the same page.