Even though the Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) junior girls volleyball season came to an end on Nov. 18, head coach Paula Picard said she is proud of the improvement shown by her players over the course of the year, and is optimistic for the future of them in the school’s program.
“These girls have progressed so far from September to November,” she said. “I’m so proud of these girls and how much they’ve put into it.”
Throughout the year, Picard said her motto has been progress, not perfection, and that progress was on display in the junior Rainmakers’ performance in zone competition in Terrace on Nov. 17 and 18. CHSS went 2-1 in round robin play before losing in the semifinals and bronze medal matches.
The team’s first match was a two-game victory against Gidgalang Kuuyas Naay from Haida Gwaii, which CHSS won 25-13 and 25-18. Picard said she was able to get most of her players time on the court during this game.
“They were playing controlled, smart volleyball,” she said. “Everybody had a chance to play in those games.”
The Rainmakers second match was against Ebenezer Christian Reformed School from Smithers. CHSS lost the first game 23-25 before rallying to win the next 2 games 25-21 and 15-12. Picard said the team’s comeback began with returning to the fundamentals on defence.
“My focus through the season was that it starts with a pass, and you can’t do anything if you don’t have a good pass,” she said. “The focus during time outs was to focus on the fundamentals and the basics of each skill.”
The team’s third match of pool play was against a physically strong Hazelton team who quickly won the first game 7-25. Picard said the Rainmakers were perhaps a little intimidated at first, but fought harder in the second game to make it close before losing 21-25.
In the semifinals, CHSS lost to Caledonia 4-25 and 8-25. In the bronze medal game, they lost to Smithers in three games, 21-25, 25-18 and 10-15. Picard said she used those games to get most of her players involved. Picard said after the tournament, she encouraged her players moving on to senior volleyball next year, telling them they had the skill to play at the next level.
“I’m proud of these girls and how they improved over the season,” she said. “It was a great experience and I truly enjoyed it.”