Victoria Cross of the Ponoka Composite High School Broncs senior girls volleyball team sets up Breanne Emes for a potential kill during a match against Innisfail Oct. 26. The Broncs

Victoria Cross of the Ponoka Composite High School Broncs senior girls volleyball team sets up Breanne Emes for a potential kill during a match against Innisfail Oct. 26. The Broncs

Victoria’s play no longer a secret

SETTER – the player on a volleyball team who has the second of three contacts of the ball, who ‘sets’ the ball with an ‘overhand pass’ for a teammate to hit. The setter normally runs the offence.

By Dale Cory

As the setter on the Ponoka Comprehensive High School girls’ volleyball team, it’s Victoria Rose’s job to control what takes place on the court. After watching the Broncs in game action against Innisfail Oct. 26 — it quickly became obvious Rose leads her team by example.

Rose, in her senior year with the team, was all over the place. It’s her job.

As the team’s setter, it’s her duty to prepare power hitters for a kill. If Rose completes her task successfully, the Broncs will get the point in most instances, and PCHS will win a majority of its matches.

“Being a setter is kind of important in setting everyone else up so they can have a good game too,” stressed a modest Rose prior to her team’s match against Innisfail. “It depends what team we’re playing against. If we play against a really good team, I push myself to try harder.”

So far this season, everything has been working out just fine for Rose and the PCHS squad that will host its annual Subway Classic boys and girls’ high school volleyball tournament Nov. 5 and 6.

The girls’ team is coming off back-to-back tournament victories in Edmonton, defeating a previously unbeaten Vimy Ridge team in the final of the M.E. LaZerte tournament Oct. 23.

At that event, Rose was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“Victoria is an amazing athlete. She’s got great hands. She’s not very vocal. She’s more an inhibited player. But I noticed when we beat Vimy Ridge in the tournament final, she completely came out of her shell and became the player we need her to be,” says Broncs head coach Joely Hanke. “The team looks to her, and in tight matches like that against big city schools, she has showed up. That was very important for our character alone. She couldn’t do anything wrong. She definitely came out of that tournament with more character.”

Rose may be the force that drives the PCHS squad, but volleyball is a team game, and Hanke has other players who are key to the Broncs’ success.

“Jaycee DeVries is our go-to swinger. We try to find her no matter where she is on the court, and I have no idea how someone so small can hit the ball so hard. Jaycee and Jenica Krause provide us with a double threat on the front row,” says Hanke. “That’s our strength. We’ve got the towers on the outside, and blocking in the middle.”

Put it all together, and the Ponoka Broncs appear to be on track to seriously compete for a 3A girls’ volleyball championship.

“I think our team is working well as a unit. They’re all pretty close friends and know each other on and off the court. They don’t get mad at each other. It’s more a thing of, ‘Okay, I’m going to help you,’” says Hanke, who cites one more reason for the Broncs’ success. “Winning as a team helps bond a team. It gives them more confidence in who they are as a player. We’re a snowball of confidence that’s getting faster and bigger on the hill.”

It’s a big week for the Broncs. PCHS travelled to Sylvan Lake last night, with the winner hosting zone playdowns. Ponoka then takes on Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Monday, Nov. 8 in a match that should determine first place in the zone.

“Our team is playing pretty well right now. We all have a lot of potential,” stated Rose. “We’re all good friends and we work well together, which helps us win. We all connect.”

And a group of players connected with one another is a team that will go a long way when the playoffs begin.

As for the Subway Classic… Tournament action begins Friday, Nov. 5, with games being played at PCHS, Diamond Willow Middle School, and Ponoka Christian School. A total of 10 teams will compete on the boys side, with the host Broncs opening the tournament against Elk Point at 2 p.m. at PCHS. The Ponoka girls are part of a six-team pool, and will hit the court at PCHS at 3 p.m. Friday versus Elk Point. The Broncs junior girls team will open against Paradise Valley at 4 p.m. at PCS.

Round robin games continue until Saturday at noon, after which playoff matches begin.

The boys gold medal match will be played Saturday at 4 p.m. at PCHS, followed by the girls’ final at 5:15 p.m.

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