The size and jumping ability of the tall middle players for Red Deer’s St. Joseph Falcons were too much to handle for the Broncs in the final, like on this block attempt by Ponoka’s Shaelyn Goodwin in the first set. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Broncs unable to avoid Falcons attack

Ponoka loses to St. Joseph’s of Red Deer for provincial championship spot

The Ponoka Secondary Campus Broncs just missed out on a trip north to the 3A provincial volleyball championship.

The Broncs lost the central zone playoff final to Red Deer’s St. Joseph High School Falcons 25-22, 25-18 on Nov. 16.

Ponoka hosted the tournament after earning the number one ranking during the season and it showed early on.

Things started off well for Ponoka, defeating West Central from Rocky Mountain House 25-7, 25-19 then managed to squeeze past rival Wetaskiwin in three sets 20-25, 26-24, 17-15. That put them into the semifinals against Camrose, who they beat 25-12, 25-15.

St. Joseph’s placed at the top of the other pool and then got by Wetaskiwin to reach the final, a fact Broncs head coach Ron Labrie felt was going to come to pass.

“We managed to defeat them in the two other matches we played this season, but that final had one major challenge for us in both sets,” Labrie said.

“We didn’t get off to a quick enough start and, as a result, fell behind too early. Their big middle players also took their toll on our defensive.

“Despite the fact that we traded points for a big part of both sets, it was not enough to get the momentum back and win the match.They were definitely the better team in the gold medal match.”

Labrie added he was extremely proud of how his team competed in the zone playoff and that it showed that Ponoka is a legitimate contender with some of the larger schools playing at the 3A level.

“It was a great senior year for our Grade 12’s and I believe it will make our returning players hungry for greater success next season,” he said.

That is especially so, as Ponoka will be the host for the 3A girls volleyball provincial championship next November.

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