St. Augustine’s JR Queens Thunder pose Oct. 27 during the team’s Spooktacular tournament. Pictured are back row: Abby Winslow, Avery Klimec, Hailey Huchkowski and Amelia Bos. Middle row: Jodi Newton, Morgan Hutchison, Ashley Fleck and Diadem Pambrun. Front row: Anika Prediger, Lezah McGinnis and Maddison Bruns. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka junior volleyball team undefeated in regular season

St. Augustine’s Lightning seems unstoppable in the junior volleyball league

One junior volleyball team in Ponoka is having a year to remember.

The St. Augustine Queens Lightning team is undefeated in the regular league. That includes all sets and matches.

Coach Chris McLean said all 10 of his Grade 9 players took part in club volleyball last year; seven with Tammy Emes’ Central Alberta Rage and three with the Warriors.

“We had an undefeated season in league, 7-0 (matches), and didn’t lose a set, 35 sets to zero,” said McLean.

Lightning has been unstoppable not only in league, but also in tournaments coming out on top in several big tournaments. There’s been just a handful of lost sets at those tournaments but that’s about it.

McLean credits club coaches Emes and Warriors’ coach Alex Josephison for building a strong group of players. They’ve been together for the last four years, he added.

“They’re very coachable. They work very hard,” said McLean.

Based on how strong St. Augustine’s volleyball program is going, he feels some of his team will make it to a JV squad and the senior team next season.

He anticipates Lightning will make it to the CWAJHAA finals this year as well.

“They’re playing a year above where they should be,” said McLean.

For parents or athletes who want to do well within the sport, he recommends they start early.

Lightning, along with the school’s B-team, Thunder, hosted their fun, annual Spooktacular tournament last weekend. Lightning did well.

“We had a great weekend at the tournament,” said McLean. “My girls won all 14 of their sets (seven straight matches), taking home their fifth straight tournament win.”

As for Thunder, coach Alison Rowland-Klimec said her team has 11 girls with five in Grade 9 and six in Grade 8. The tournament gave the players a chance at some higher quality volleyball, which will get the Grade 8s ready for next season.

“This way with three teams in St. Augustine we have build up the program,” said Rowland-Klimec.

As for the season, Thunder has won one tournament and are sitting about middle in the league. Many of the players are new to the program.

“I just hope that they fall in love with the game” said Rowland-Klimec, adding that lifelong friends are made with the team sport.

At the Spooktacular tournament there were a total of 10 teams competing.

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