Tough love strengthens girls’ volleyball team

After five intense sets, Ponoka Composite High School’s senior girls’ volleyball team lost 3-2 to Camrose.

After five intense sets, Ponoka Composite High School’s senior girls’ volleyball team lost 3-2 to Camrose.

“It was a nail-biter,” said coach Joely Hanke. “It could have gone either way.”

With this hometown loss under their belts the team sits with two wins and two losses in the central zone.

Hanke says it was nerves and slower offence that contributed to the loss. “The strength of our entire match would have been our defence.

Although they lost the game, Ponoka won sets two and three. “I’m very proud of the way the girls played. They played as a unit,” said Hanke.

Ponoka was down several points in the third set but team captain Victoria Boardman went on a tough-serving run that gave the team the momentum to make a comeback and win the set.

Camrose took the next two sets but Hanke says that didn’t stop the girls from playing hard. “As long as they’re pumped up they play better as a squad. They’re very good at focusing on the job they have to do.”

Hanke uses tough love to rally the team in games but has a long-term plan to advance their offence and game.

Hanke is already working on building a faster offence by running quicker ball drills. Hanke believes by running all the volleyball plays she can and having the team split the block the team will get even better.

“The cool thing about volleyball is it’s a strategy game,” said Hanke.

Ponoka’s starting setter was out with a wrist injury and Hanke had Grade 10 setter, Savannah Slater, play. “Our Grade 10 stepped up to fill some big shoes.”

Hanke said Slater wasn’t the only one who stepped up with winning as their goal.

Every team member improved her skills by the end of the game. “They’re showing commitment to this squad.”

Hanke also attributes the new interlocking game system to the team’s challenges.

“The central zone is usually pretty tough,” said Hanke. “With this new interlocking system … it’s harder to prepare for quick matches.”

However, Hanke and the Ponoka Composite High Schools girls senior team is going to continue to work toward their goal of getting out of their zone.

Player of the game was awarded to Sadie Dodds and leading the game was Amy Lank with 12 kills.

The girls’ next game is Oct. 4 at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, and their next home game is Oct. 30.