For first time provincial’s qualifiers, the St. Augustine Catholic School Queens senior girls volleyball team knew they faced an uphill battle.
The girls did not win any of their games last week in the provincials in Edmonton but came back feeling positive from the experience. They faced the best volleyball teams Alberta has to offer and coach Darren Josephison was just glad to be able to go.
He has coached volleyball at St. Augustine for the last nine years and is proud they made it. “It was a first for our program to get to provincials.”
Many of the teams have more experience, explained Josephison, so he was unsure if they would even win any games. To give players more experience, some of the JV girls also came to learn and support the team.
“The competition level is tougher than any we’ve had all year,” he said.
Players must have strong play ethics, a skill and intensity greater than regular season games. Both Josephison and his athletes found themselves watching how other teams interacted with each other.
“Here we got to see all the boys and girls at every level,” explained Josephison.
As this year was the 50th anniversary of high school volleyball provincials, teams who first played in the 1963 tournament were honoured with medals. “It was pretty cool.”
Captain Jennifer Henderson, Grade 12, said it took some time to realize they had finally made it to provincials. “It didn’t really sink in until we played the first game.”
Players could barely hear themselves as 23 other games were being played at the same time, so she had to make sure the team communicated with their eyes. It takes eye contact and working closely together.
“You really have to trust your team,” said Henderson.
Carmen Lomas, Grade 10, said their focus was to play volleyball at a high level and enjoy the experience. She feels this will help next year’s team if they make it to provincials so they can “get a better mental state to be in.”
JV girls win zones
Last week the St. Augustine JV girls won zones and while they were still enjoying the win, some travelled to provincials. JV captain Megan Jones, Grade 10, enjoyed the trip. “It was a really good experience…We got the feel of the experience for future years.”
This year was the first season for a JV team at the school, explained coach Kara Schmidt and while she is unsure what next year will bring for the team, she knows all the JV girls will be trying out for the senior girls team next year.
The Rimbey Spartans were their biggest challenge at Zones.
“In our zone Rimbey was our competition. We were just more consistent,” she said.
Their season started out slow because she had the team compete in as many senior tournaments as possible. This was a cause of worry for her as the first half of the season they did not win many games but, “the girls stepped up to their competition.”
While Schmidt could not give a definitive answer to the future of the JV program, she feels there is going to be strong interest, especially with the recent success of the team.