With only two other teams capable of beating the Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) senior girls volleyball team, competition is fierce.
Coach Joely Churchill says Sylvan Lake and Lacombe make it a three-way battle to win two spots in zones, which are set for Nov. 23 in Sylvan Lake. “Sylvan Lake hadn’t lost a set until they played us.”
Each team remains undefeated except for one losing to the other; Sylvan Lake recently beat Lacombe 3 sets to 0, Lacombe beat the Broncs 3-1 and the Broncs beat Sylvan Lake 3-2.
Only the top teams move forward to provincials.
“Our girls are in the final push for the zones tournament,” said Churchill. “I feel confident that every single person on this team is ready. They’re fully committed to take this right to the end.”
Indeed, the Broncs’ game against the Wetaskiwin Sabres Nov. 14 was a strong victory winning in three sets. With three grade 12 players on the roster, Churchill feels they are a part of the whole team. Every team member is a part of the puzzle, she said.
“(For) zones it all depends if they show up, all 12 of them,” she added. “It takes every single person to be on for one day.”
The Broncs played with a strong confidence against the Sabres, taking each point and going with the momentum of the game. They had fewer unforced errors and were able to capitalize on the Sabres’ uncertainty at key points in the match.
And players were ready for just about anything the Sabres threw at them. Blocks were quickly returned by the Broncs who were comfortable passing the ball to each other even when the ball was returned quickly.
At this level of play, Churchill is preparing her athletes for college-level volleyball. One of the reasons she enjoys coaching is to improve on players’ skills and to have them play volleyball competitively.
Players have ramped up practice to four days a week rather than two and Churchill is working closely with her team.