Some teams just seem to compete on such a high level that either one could win a match.
That’s exactly what happened with the Broncs senior boys volleyball team Oct. 16 against the Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) Knights. They lost 3-2 against the Knights but each set was a close challenge with the Knights taking the fifth and final one, says coach Ron Labrie. “It was really a war.”
Each time the Knights won a game, the Broncs would come back to win but not without a fight. Labrie feels his team played better and more consistently than in recent games.
“It was nice for us to compete at the level we need to,” he said.
The Broncs are 3-2-0 so far in the season and Labrie sees his team as strong contenders.
Camrose and the Knights are the only two teams to have defeated the Broncs and he is training his players to find weaknesses in their opponents.
“There’s so much parity in our league, you’re just looking for something to get ahead,” he explained.
Teams they might have beaten in a league game will come back and defeat them in a tournament and Labrie wants to ensure they are ready for zones. “We’re just looking for anything to win.”
Getting the ball over the net during a serve is no longer good enough at this level, says Labrie. Players must be more technically ready to win the point. That same level of competitiveness is coming from their opponents.
“It’s gotta be an aggressive type of serve,” stated Labrie.
“We’re not trying to survive. We’re going after it,” he added.
Despite not being able to compete at home, due to renovations of the gym at Ponoka Secondary Campus, players are eager to work together and make the best of the situation. They have a strong team ethic, which helps them when they have to leave early for a game and return late.
“This is something we knew was going to happen,” said Labrie.
The Broncs take teamwork to a level that has made coaching easier for the man in charge as well. Many of the players grew up together and have competed with each other in other athletic endeavours. Training becomes much easier.
“It’s quite an anomaly to have such great chemistry without having to work at it,” says Labrie.
“There’s lots of long-standing Ponoka bloodlines coming through the system,” he added.
His focus now is find holes in their opponents’ defense and rather than knock on the door. Labrie wants to break it apart to get them provincials. Players practice two or three times a week plus they compete in two or three games a week and in weekend tournaments. “We’re on the hunt,” he said.