Bert Bowes Black wins Regional Championship

In an intense final match up, Bert Bowes Black beat South Peace Secondary School for the title of Regional Champion on Saturday.

The Junior Girl Volleyball Regional Championship gold medal game was a back and forth affair with SPSS winning the first set 25-23, with Bert Bowes coming back in the second to win 25-22 and then winning the final set 15-14.

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Bert Bowes went 6-0 in the tournament, but a lot of those wins were coming from behind.

"Just a lot of character on the girls' part because they just never gave up. We were focusing on keeping that play to the last point attitude and that we were never out of a game. They managed to pull it out," said Bert Bowes coach Broyden Bennett.

"Playing in all these tight games is just huge for their development. I think the more pressure situations they can be put in, the better it is for their overall development."

After a string of first and second place finishes at tournaments around the area this season, including two wins in the previous two tournaments, North Peace Secondary School was the team to beat at regionals.

In a surprising turn of events, SPSS beat NPSS in two sets in their semifinal match up and Bert Bowes Black beat Chetwynd Secondary School in their semifinal.

SPSS coach Garry Mah said one of the team's goals for the year was to beat the strong NPSS squad.

"For the girls here that was a big turning point for them emotionally that they could get over the hump and beat a team that they felt was superior to them. And now it's at the point where the girls feel very good about themselves and we want to try to take that momentum and try to peak our season at the zones in Quesnel," he said.

SPSS, NPSS and CSS head to the zone championships in Quesnel this weekend while the Grade 9 teams are off to the 30-team Pow Wow Invitational in Grande Prairie.

Bert Bowes Black beat SPSS in the round robin, giving them first and second place respectively in their pool, and the final set went 20-18. The games between the two teams this weekend were very intense and emotional, said Mah.

"Even though my girls are sad, disheartened, we're coming away with the fact that we're playing well and we had a couple of mental let downs which they took advantage of. But give it to the Bulldogs that they played nice, strong volleyball and I'm happy for them that they won their home tournament."

In the bronze medal match, CSS beat NPSS in three sets. NPSS won the first set 25-22, with CSS coming back to win 25-18 and 15-11.

NPSS coach Jim Lovell said after the previous weekend's domination at the Bert Bowes Classic, the NPSS squad got over-confident.

"All the teams in the tournament have elevated their game," he said, adding that the players learned a good lesson.

"All the other teams played well and we played well, but not well enough."

Dawson Creek's Central Middle School beat Dr. Kearney to tie for fifth place with the Hudson's Hope Hawks, who beat Bert Bowes Gold.

Dr. Kearney coach Jaclyn Gieni said the team was a little off this weekend, but they worked hard and they tried.

"They still played well, they took some games to three, played a tough game against North Peace, made them work for it, as long they can still do that, I'm happy," she said.

Mah said his team is looking forward to playing different teams at zones.

"We're hoping to elevate our level of play to a higher level more so than what we're at right now. The biggest hurdle that we're having to overcome right now is just mental errors as soon as we can overcome mental errors and start playing error-free volleyball, I think we're going to see more success."

Robyn Devaleriola was Bert Bowes Black's All-Star. Other locals named to the All-Star team were: Ashley Harrison for NPSS, Jessica Kalkman for Bert Bowes Gold and Alex Basco for Dr. Kearney.

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