The city's volleyball teams aren't powerhouses yet, but squads such as the Dawson Creek Volleyball Club's Under-14 team took major steps towards that goal this season.
The Dynamite, one of four teams in the DCVC, had a stellar season that included a gold-medal performance at its own tournament, an impressive fifth-place showing at the provincials and a recent third-place finish in Fort St. John.
"The girls have never played better in their careers. They are physically stronger, mentally stronger, more mature, very passionate and very dedicated. They are totally into it," said coach Gary Mah.
Totally into it. Most certainly now that they can play the sport for at least seven months a year in club or school tournaments.
Over the past several years, the DCVC has improved the city's standing in volleyball circles. Local volleyball enthusiasts realized that playing just three months of school volleyball in the fall wasn't going to improve the girls' overall skill level, so the DCVC was formed to help the players improve their skills and gain more experience on the club circuit over the winter and into the spring.
This year's club team was a mix of players who were members of last year's DCVC U-13 squad and a few rookies. Most were also members of Central Middle School's Grade 8 volleyball team this fall.
The Dynamite made their first major trip of the season to an Edmonton contest where it opened with a fifth place showing in the consolation round. The team steadily improved from there.
A few weeks later, the Dawson Creek girls made it to the final of a Calgary contest and placed second after pushing the last game to a third and deciding set.
The team won its home tournament in mid-April.
Then came the Alberta provincial championship in Calgary where the local girls finished fifth of 28 teams in their pool.
"It is very good. The girls played really well. The team that knocked us out of the championship round was the team that won it."
The team wrapped up the season this past weekend in Fort St. John where it ended up third amongst five Peace Country rivals.
"They were very competitive teams. Fort St. John won in Grande Prairie's tournament. We won our own tournament and Grande Prairie won Fort St. John's tournament, so the three teams were very competitive with each other," explained Mah, who intends to coach the DCVC U-15 team next year and also possibly a school team in the fall.