Terrace’s Northwest 17U girls’ volleyball team took a solid run at nationals in Edmonton two weeks ago after a successful turn at club provincials late last month.
“A feat for our little northwest team to even break the top 10 and knock out the ‘established’ club teams,” said assistant coach Carmen Didier, of the team’s eighth place Tier 1 provincial finish.
That provincial finish led them to the Volleyball Canada 2014 17U/18U Canadian Open in Edmonton May 9 – 11, with games at the University of Alberta campus.
Eighty teams from across the country attended the tournament, and Terrace was in Division 2 with 32 teams.
The team ultimately tied for fifth in Division 2, Tier 1, finishing with a 5 – 2 record after losing a tight match in the Tier 1 quarterfinals.
“The whole weekend was a wonderful experience and opportunity for the girls,” said Didier, noting the team had a photo op with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was on hand in his official capacity as a volleyball parent to his son, Ben.
Terrace’s northwest team entered the final day of play having won almost every match.
Day one, May 9 saw them win against NOOKS Women’s 17U from Sturgeon County, Alberta (25-17, 23-25, 15-9), Duck U17 Jack from Port Coquitlam (25-11, 25-10), and Cats 17U from Carberry, Manitoba (25-23, 25-20). While they kept up the win streak day two, with wins against the LVC Avengers from Lethbridge, Alberta (25-16, 21-25, 15-6), and FOG Ice from St. Albert, Alberta (25-18, 25-14).
The team suffered their first loss at the end of the second day, and it was against a familiar team – the Prince George Kodiaks 17U (22-25, 19-25).
But their 6-1 record set them up for the Tier 1 quarterfinals against Aigles U17 from Montreal, Quebec, no small accomplishment for a small team from northwest B.C.
And Terrace came out strong in the first set, winning 25-9, but Montreal bounced back in the second to win 25-18 and set up a third and final set – a squeaker which landed in the eastern team’s favour with a 16-14 win over Terrace.
“Our team probably felt a little too comfortable in the second set after we’d one the first set 25-9,” said Didier. “But can’t really take anything away from either team in the third set as we were trading points back and forth… It was really anyone’s game.”
The club season is officially over, but Didier and head coach Steve Kitchen are still holding practises for players moving onto high performance – several players have tryouts coming up – or those who want to keep up their skill set.