Volleyball girls gearing up for zones

The senior girls volleyball team at Caledonia is stronger than anticipated as they gear up for zones in Terrace Nov. 21.

Hailey Mitchell sets up hitters Gillian Frank and Ally Mouldenhauer at a the Caledonia girls volleyball practice last week.

The senior girls volleyball team at Caledonia is stronger than anticipated and is gearing up for zones in Terrace Nov. 21.

Coach Carmen Didier says this is a development year for the team, with most of the players in grade 11, but they have had a really successful season so far.

They won tier two in Kamloops mid-September, and then won their pool and earned a spot in tier one in the Kelowna UBCO Championship, a major tournament in B.C. that often draws university scouts.

They placed 10th out of 44 teams in B.C. and Carmen says that was a big tournament for the team.

“I think a lot of the girls realized that they are just about at that calibre and able to compete with some of the top lower mainland teams,” she said.

Didier says the team is strong on offence, and blocking and serving, but are working to strengthen their passing and setting. Another strength is their attitude.

“They’re fighters. They like to fight and dig in deep in order to win those games,” said Didier.

Captains Carly Davies and Correina McNeice agree.

“I think our general aura is good, because we are comfortable with each other,” said Davies. “We have improved a lot. It has been a drastic change from September to now, just in skill improvement and figuring out rotations.”

Looking ahead to zones, Davies says it is looking good for the team, which recently beat Prince Rupert.

McNeice said they just have to keep practices intense and challenge each other.

“I’m excited to have the home court. We should have a good crowd and hopefully we’ll go to provincials,” said McNeice.

Didier said they are not taking anything for granted, but she expects the girls will play hard and do well. If they win, the team will head to Vernon for provincials December 2-6.

Caledonia junior girls earned bronze at a Prince George tournament Oct. 31, beating College Heights Secondary in two sets, 25-16 and 25-17. They lost the semi-final in two very close matches (26-24 and 27-25) against Kelly Road Secondary School from Prince George.

Coach Mark Neid said overall it was a good tournament.

“We played some tough matches, but when you lose like that it shows you where your weaknesses are… our passing broke down, that was the biggest thing in that semi final,” he said.

Neid says practices will focus on getting rid of those weaknesses.

“We are just trying to strengthen our passing so that next time we play those teams at provincials, we’ll be ready,” he said.

Caledonia is hosting junior girls A-volleyball zones this weekend, Nov. 14, with six teams from Queen Charlottes to Houston competing. After that, they have a berth to the junior girls provincials in Delta November 27 to 28.

The Centennial Christian School junior girls team is preparing for zones in Terrace as well.

Coach Rayna Braam says their strengths are their close-knit team, as well as several strong leaders passionate about the game and enthusiastic and positive on the court.

Lack of interest in volleyball among the girls at Centennial has limited the team, and Braam says they recruited several grade seven students who have done very well.

The team is feeling excited and good about zones coming up.

“It’s always a wildcard,” said Braam, adding that her goal is for the girls to be happy and feel good about how they played.