The senior girls volleyball team at Caledonia Secondary School is thrilling with excitement as the girls gear up for provincials this year. The team is ranked fourth in the province, the highest yet for Caledonia girls.
Typically the girls play Prince Rupert in a zone championship, but this year Rupert dropped down into double AA, so the girls get an automatic bye to provincials. But that doesn’t mean they did not earn their spot. They have travelled to numerous tournaments to compete with other AAA teams and qualify for provincials, and have claim a strong fourth place standing in B.C.
The team heads to Kelowna on Nov. 30 and will compete Dec. 1-3 in the provincial championship. Games will be live streamed on the provincial website.
Below is a story submitted by Kam Siemens, mother of Mya Siemens who plays on the team.
Caledonia senior girls volleyball team makes history!
Being ranked fourth in B.C. as they go into the provincial championships, our senior girls are making their mark in history at Caledonia. No other senior girls team has ever been ranked as high.
So, armed with a paper and pen, I went to the Caledonia gym to find out more.
The Caledonia senior girls team started off the season with a bang. They attended many out of town tournaments to gain the intense game play required to compete at a higher level. September 23-24 the team headed down to TRU senior girls volleyball tournament in Kamloops and placed fifth overall out of more than 35 teams. October 7-8, the team once again packed into a van and headed to Kelowna. They were seeded in the top division and out of more than 40 teams, placed seventh overall. Sticking closer to home they headed off twice to Prince George and came home with a gold and silver. They played twice in our zone area and the teams just were not prepared for the force of Caledonia. Following the ranking system on BC School Athletics, the girls started out unmentioned, but just kept climbing in the ranks until they were in fourth.
Carmen Didier and Steve Kitchen have been coaching girls volleyball since they first moved to Terrace. Their passion for the sport is translated into the coaching style which this team has responded to well. I asked the coaches to give me some insight into what makes the team from a small community able to compete with the larger centres. “The depth of our team is so vast, each athlete brings a valuable piece to the court, the beauty is that there is no difference in abilities when it comes to our first and second string players,” they said. An important aspect of training these girls is not just the skills but the mental training as well. A common phrase to hear from head coach Carmen is “throw the word ‘can’t’ out the window and replace it with ‘I will’. I asked Carmen why now, what makes this team so strong, her response was these girls are truly gritty and fierce, they will continue to fight to achieve success.
The focus and drive of these athletes was evident at their practice, every moment they are thinking of what’s going to happen next. I caught up with the team captains Mya Siemens (outside hitter/middle) and Correina McNeice (defense specialist/libero). Wanting to get the perspective of a player I asked what makes the team so strong. “It is a combination of many things; we have all been coached by Steve and Carmen before, and know the expectations. Every player on our team also plays club volleyball so we are playing from September ’till May, responded Correina.
I asked the girls to describe a moment when the team was trailing behind and what they had to do to get back into the game. Mya was quick to respond about a situation that happened at a recent tournament in Prince George. It was the gold medal match and PGSS had won the first set, so the pressure was on to ensure we won the second set to stay in the game. We were trailing by six points and finally we took possession of the ball. Macey Hogg, Grade 11 middle player, was able to serve six in a row to tie the game. The momentum of the game shifted and the mental game kicked in and we won the second set, she said.
There was no sense of any pressure or nerves the team is feeling as they head to provincials, only sheer excitement.
The words of advice from the captains to all future volleyball players is to cherish the moments and make the most of the experience, work hard and play even harder.