Talk about a season with silver linings.
The U16 girls finished their season with a silver medal at the 2023 Volleyball Canada Nationals held in Calgary on May 11-13.
"We entered the tournament seeded 88th of 206 teams from across Canada and 26th in Alberta, which was exactly as expected based on the results of the regular season. The tournament is structured to have teams seeded and play in tiers based on their respective provincial results. We entered the tournament with a short bench as Tessa Chipps remained home due to the wild fires near her farm and Anneka Lekstrom suffered a knee injury," says head coach Terri Spencer.
The girls showed tenacity as a number of them played positions they hadn't played previously and they showed true teamwork as they helped each other through.
Day 1 featured round robin play based on original seeding as set by Volleyball Canada and the team faced off against 3 teams - the Venom Vipers (ON #23), the Jr. Cascade Ascend (BC #19), and the Jr. Bison Brown (MB #8).
"We went 2-1, taking the wins from Venom and Cascade but fell short against a big team from Manitoba. Keira Heartt was an absolute force to be reckoned with in the middle with her powerful attacking and tough serving," adds Spencer.
On Day 2, the tournament pools were reconfigured to seed teams together by day 1 ranking (power pools).
"We faced some tough competition, taking a win from SAS Green (AB #23) but losses against Ace of Diamonds Red (AB #22) and Smashers (ON #21). Despite the losses, this was some of the best volleyball I've seen our team play all season."
The strongest game was against Ace of Diamonds Red, where Jasmine Vigar and Arielle Spencer lead the way with 35 attacks and some steller serving at 90% respectively.
Day 3 featured an 8-team tournament in each of 26 tiers. The DCVC team ended in Tier 11 and saw wins in the quarter-finals against the Regina Rave (SK #6) and semi-finals against Route 20 (SK #8). The final game was a match-up agains the Smashers (ON #21) in a repeat of Day 2's game.
"The team ran out of steam and couldn't catch the win, but played amazing and did what they could agains the tall, hard-hitting team from Ontario. A silver medal win in Tier 11 was the result and, as their coach, I couldn't have been prouder of the way they played," adds Spencer.
"This team is small but fierce and they have to work exceptionally hard against the larger teams that we often face. I am very proud of their accomplishments as a team from a small community who grinds for their wins."
Nationals wraps up the season for this team. During the summer, a couple of the players will be playing beach volleyball while others will be trying out for the Team BC program.