Winning their last home game of the season took little effort for the Ponoka Broncs senior boys’ volleyball team.
They soundly beat the Rocky Mountain House West Central Rebels 3-0 in a best of five sets Wednesday, Oct. 29 during what may be the last regular season game for some years for the senior boys’ team.
Coach Ron Labrie took some time before the beginning of the game to recognize this year’s graduating players and those Grade 10 and 11 players who may not have a team to play with next year. Labrie said in an interview with many of the players leaving and not much player resources for next year, the chances of continuing the program are slim.
“We haven’t had the feeder support for a number of reasons,” said Labrie.
“We’ve got a good solid group of kids in Grade 8 and 7 right now,” he added.
But it will be some years before they are ready for senior volleyball.
He’s proud of the effort of his players though and looks back at his many years coaching the senior boys’ team with fondness. Many of the graduating players have grown up together and Labrie has coached them through the years.
“They really are selfless kids,” he said.
Team captain Tavis Lee praised Labrie for developing a strong sense of respect from many of the players over the years. “Anybody who has played for Mr. Labrie knows what an honour it is to be mentored by a man of his nature.”
He said the senior boys’ volleyball program is well respected, not only by its members, but also by its competitors.
“Without you, Broncs volleyball wouldn’t be what it is today,” said Lee.
Labrie’s tough, yet caring coaching style made the team better at volleyball but also helped create strong individuals, explained Lee.
Volleyball alumni were also in attendance of the game to wish their team good luck in upcoming matches. At the end of their last home game, the Broncs were tied for first place with Camrose and Labrie said they should be ranked relatively high during zones, which is set for Nov. 15.
The zones winner will go to provincial championships in Fort McMurray.