The Ponoka Warriors volleyball U16 girls squad pushed hard, nearly coming away with a provincial title.
However, the club fell to Brooks in an exciting three-set final at the 16-team Volleyball Alberta division three provincial championship over the weekend, hosted at the Saville Community Centre in Edmonton.
Coach Darren Josephison and his squad made the final by starting out atop their four-team round robin pool, losing just one match. They fell in three sets to the Airdrie Calgary Volleyball Club Reign and then defeated the Rebels from Calgary and the Cochrane Jaguars, each in straight sets.
That got them one of the four top seeds for the elimination medal round draw and they took full advantage in making a run to the final.
The Warriors first made it past the Strathmore Chaos fairly handily by scores of 25-18, 25-20 to reach the quarter finals, where the local squad needed three sets — 19-25, 26-24, 15-12 — to beat the Northern Alberta Volleyball Club Griffins and make the semi-finals.
In the semi-final against another of the top seeded teams — the Rocky Mountain Volleyball Club from Canmore — the Warriors won a very tough first set 25-23. That was enough of a confidence boost for the girls, who powered through the second set and posted a 25-15 win to take the match and move onto the final.
Brooks, who finished first in their round robin pool, defeated the last of the top seeds in their semifinal and were able to win the opening set of the final. The Warriors battled hard in the second set, but weren’t able to hold on in the deciding set.
As result of the team’s play, the Warriors were rewarded with two of the six tournament all-star awards — Searra Schoepfner and Jaycee Tebb.
The Warriors will now practice for the next couple of weeks before heading to the U16 West National tournament in Calgary on the May long weekend.