A new banner will be hung at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) after the senior girls volleyball team brought home the zone championship on the weekend.
The girls continued what has been an outstanding campaign by winning all of its games on Saturday without dropping a single set. Now boasting a 15-1 season record, the team will head to Abbotsford to compete in the provincial championship from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.
“It feels good and very accomplished because I’ve always wanted to bring the girls to provincials and win zones,” said coach Nancy Le.
The atmosphere was positive and energetic throughout the day, she said. The girls were so confident that they were planning their time at provincials before they even won the zone title. Le felt confident but she also reserved her excitement, because she knows from experience how one tragedy can dash championship dreams.
“I was hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, but they had it in them and they finished it off,” she said.
The keys to victory were trust, communication and hustling to the ball. Based on the year they’ve had, these are things the girls have done well all season. Le, along with co-coaches Jacqueline Jackson and Krista Johnson, said she was very proud of the girls’ performances all season.
Game one was against Kitimat and the girls had no problem with them, beating the team 25-11 and 25-5. Then Rupert went right into the second game against Smithers. These games were closer, with scores of 25-9 and 25-20.
The two wins put the girls into the finals, against Smithers once more. These sets were the biggest challenge of the day and ramped up the intensity. The girls were on fire for the first two sets, winning 25-17 and 25-13. The last set was the nail-biter.
Smithers led by seven points and Le said the coaches thought they would have to play a fourth or fifth set if they didn’t step it up. So they called a timeout to try and calm the girls down.
“The girls just got it together and calmed down a little bit because they had a lot of nerves going on,” Le said.
Whatever it was, it disappeared quickly after that as the group surged back for the 25-20 win to clinch the NorthWest zone title.
Brittany Waite was named an All-Star, thanks to her 11 kills. Janna Nelson also got that honour, with seven kills, along with several aces and blocks, and she had the least amount of errors. Le said she was the most consistent player.
Suttira Johansen received the MVP honour. She had 12 kills, which is significant because she is a setter, so they don’t hit often but Johansen was one of the strongest hitters on the team despite that.
For Waite and Johansen, they were the only two Grade 12 athletes on the team so this was even more special for them.
“It was potentially their last day of playing high school volleyball. For them to come close to never having that feeling of winning zones, they wanted it badly,” Le said.
She doesn’t know what to expect at provincials, but she just wants the girls to give it their best and to “not get killed.”