This past weekend saw our 14U girls at Premier #1 in Calgary with 31 other teams to determine seedings for the Premier #2 in Edmonton in March and vie for bragging rights as the ‘best of the south’.

Saturday saw the pool matches start early with the team facing CAQVC #2, CANADA West Black and the Rockies. Game 1 vs the Rockies was a slow start as both teams settled into the Triple-ball format for the first, and only, time this season. The format saw each pool game playing 3 sets in each game. The girls overcame their early malaise to take the match 25-17, 25-14, 15-6.

The second pool match saw us face Canada West Black and our toughest challenge in the pool stage. The match started tight and stayed that way throughout with few points separating the teams but the Canada West team had a stronger offence and more consistent defence which, coupled with some loose errors from our girls at the end of the set, helped them claim the first set 25-22. The loss seemed to energize our girls as they came out swinging and working hard from the first whistle in the second set and dominated the Canada West team into a 25-9 win setting up the 3rd set as a decider. The final set was as tight as the first with both teams bringing strong offence and defence but the strength of #28 (Scarvett Gingera) for Canada West through power was a clear difference with our girls unable to adjust their backcourt coverage to contain the hits setting up a loss 16-14 and a well deserved win for the opponents.

The final pool match saw us face CAQVC #2 (Queens). The first set established the tone for the match with our girls sticking to the basics from the start and gaining a comfortable win 25-9. The second set was a closer affair due to a loss of concentration on our part letting the Queens make up some ground before we reestablished ourselves taking the set 25-19. The final set saw a repeat of the first with solid fundamental volleyball skills and little drama giving a clean sweep of the Queens 15-9 and setting up a Cross-over game with the Canuks White team.

Some down time between games had Kirsty showing the girls a new warm-up routine that had them trying out some moves reminiscent of a country line dance on a Saturday night and definitely had the girls laughing and challenging their coordination skills! Starting the cross-over game with a slightly modified line-up seeing Halla run the middle in the first set and Kirsty swung to power in the second set the team came out firing on all cylinders and chasing down every loose ball demonstrating some of the best defensive cover of the day and taking the first set 25-26. The second set was a repeat of the first showing the galleries the potential this team has both in offence and defence to take the second set, and a place in the Q-finals, 25-18: with the added bonus of guaranteeing a place in Tier1 for the next Provincial tournament.

Sunday morning had the girls facing the Canuck RED team. The early stages were tight with the Canuck taking an early lead and forcing our girls to fight their way back into the game, which they did, earning a very close win 26-24 with one of the best hits of the day from Polina in the middle. The second set saw a nervous start by both teams leading to a tight finish which was ultimately won by the Canucks through their determination and a swing in momentum late in the set forcing a number of errors from our girls giving the Canucks the set 25-23. The third set had 403 send out their first line-up and head out to an early lead but some determined play from the Canucks again forced errors from the 403 girls allowing them to earn a well deserved win 15-13 forcing us into a 5th place playoff.

The final game of the day had us facing a talented PEAK team from Okotoks who had some impressive hitting from Maryn Boldon; the 403 girls established an early lead which the PEAK team tried to eat into with their strong middle attack by #11 Kassidy Molcak, but our girls held firm with some solid defence to take the first set 25-17. The second set saw a disjointed game from our girls never really establishing a rhythm they could build from allowing the PEAK girls the opportunity to gain some ground and take the second set 25-22. The final set saw yet another minor switch of line-up from Coach Mike which gave the girls a refreshed sense of purpose which they capitalized on in the early stages gaining a lead they would not relinquish and winning the final set 15-9.

A successful weekend overall gaining a place in Tier1 for the second Provincial Tournament and finishing this tournament in a strong position giving the girls plenty to build on (and from) as they look forward to the 2nd Premier in Edmonton in the middle of March where they will meet the best of the northern team in addition to the best 8 from this weekend.