Caledonia’s senior girls volleyball team won fourth at provincials in Vernon last weekend, climbing significantly from their 10th place rank last year.
“We are pretty happy with that placing. It was a really good way to finish the season… the girls played really well,” said coach Carmen Didier.
She says that with most of the players in Grade 11, they expected more of a development year for the team, but “they ended up being quite competitive.”
The tournament started with Caledonia facing Vernon, the home team, and the bleachers were packed with up to 500 people, horns blared, and drums and Vernon cheers reverberated through the gym.
Caledonia beat Vernon in the first set 25-18, but Vernon came back and beat them in the next two, 28-26 and 15-12.
“That was a really intense game, a really tough match… the girls played really well… we had them three times at match point,” said Didier.
“I don’t think the girls have ever played in that large of a crowd or that loud of a crowd.”
Next, Caledonia played Hugh McRoberts from Richmond, where Carmen says the girls were a bit deflated from the tight loss to Vernon.
Caledonia lost that game in two sets, 14-25 and 23-25, but started stepping up their game at the end, which helped them in the next back-to-back game against LV Rogers from Nelson.
They beat Nelson in three sets, losing the first 19-25 and winning the next two 25-17 and 15-10, ranking them third of four in their pool.
“We weren’t hanging our heads, we felt like we had some good matches,” Didier said.
The next day they faced Duchess Park, the number one ranked team in AAA, but Didier said the Caledonia girls came out confident and strong, knowing what to do from playing the team last year.
“When we were doing warmup I just had a feeling, I thought “Yeah, I think these girls are ready to fight,” and that’s exactly what they did. They came out and beat Duchess Park pretty solid the first two sets,” Didier said.
Caledonia beat them 25-17 and 26-24 in the first two sets, but lost the third set 17-25.
In the fourth set, Caledonia won the game 25-19.
“It was a really exciting game. We just rallied really hard,” said Didier, adding that they had a lot of long, strong rallies.
Next in the single knockout championship, Caledonia faced Windsor, coming out strong again and beating them in the first two sets 29-27 and 25-14.
Windsor came back and beat Caledonia in the third set 15-25, but Caledonia finished them in the fourth 25-20.
That put Caledonia in the quarter finals against Sahali, a very dominant team from Kamloops who had won all their previous games and ended up winning gold.
Caledonia played well but lost the game in three sets 25-12, 25-18 and 25-14.
“We were playing the best that we could, but they were just a better team,” Didier said. “The scores don’t reflect the rallies and the effort that our team put in.”
The loss dropped Caledonia into the bronze medal match where they faced College Heights from Prince George.
The match was only best out of three sets and Didier says that hurt Caledonia, who started out rough due to nerves and lost 13-25.
In the second, they started really building momentum again, playing really hard and climbing neck-in-neck; but they lost 25-27.
Despite the final loss, Didier says the girls felt good about how they played and the weekend was still a success, with the team climbing from 10th place to 4th.
“That’s the best-ever finish for Cal,” Didier said, adding that upsetting the first place team was a huge success.
“I just feel really proud of them.”