The Hunting Hills Lightning volleyball girls, in the opinion of Grade 12 setter Emma Delemont, need to deal with some emotional and physical issues if they hope to qualify for the provincial championship tournament later this month.
“We’ve been doing all right this season, we just have a hard time getting back up after losing points,” said Delemont, whose club lost 23-25, 17-25 to Edmonton Harry Ainlay in Saturday’s bronze-medal match of the Hunting Hills senior tournament. “Our energy sometimes gets low and when that happens our passing is off. If we improve that, we’ll be OK.”
The Lightning, whose other starters are Libero Jill McAllister, powers Erika Pearson and Jaedyn Paarup, middles Nicole Fischer and Bailey Beingessner, and right side Cherisse Johannson, are 2-1 in Central Alberta League play this season, with both wins coming over Notre Dame and their lone loss to Lindsay Thurber.
“Thurber is the team we’re going to have to beat to go to provincials,” said Delemont, who has failed to get to the provincial high school tournament each of the last two years.
“I really want to make it to provincials this year,” she insisted. “And I definitely feel we have the potential to get there. We can play really well if our energy is up. That’s our problem. We just have to keep our energy up.
“Our hitting is strong, but one thing we can work on is our coverage for blocking.”
The remainder of the Lightning roster consists of Lexi Baron, Payton Watts, Morgan Whitbread and Kristen Loney.
Lindsay Thurber took top honours in the Hunting Hills tournament with a 25-22, 25-23 win over Lethbridge Chinook in the girls championship final.
The Raiders downed Harry Ainlay 3-2 in one semifinal, prevailing 21-25, 26-24, 25-14, 25-27, 15-13, and Chinook beat Hunting Hills 3-2 in the other, winning 20-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 15-7.
l Spruce Grove defeated Harry Ainlay 3-0 in the boys gold-medal match, winning 27-25, 25-20, 15-7, and Okotoks Foothills was a 25-22, 25-22 winner over Chinook in the bronze-medal game.
The Lightning boys had to settle for ninth place after defeating Grande Prairie Charles Spencer 25-21, 27-25, and so far their season hasn’t exactly been a success.
“We’re not having a great season,” said head coach TJ Hartel. “We don’t have a lot of young players, but we’re inexperienced as a team. We don’t have the true volleyball players, just good athletes.
“There weren’t huge expectations coming into the season, but we do compete at a very high level. We just haven’t got the results we were hoping for.”
The Lightning are 0-4 in league play this fall, having lost twice to both Notre Dame and Lindsay Thurber. The team finished third in zone playoffs last year, but Hartel feels his squad can improve over the next few weeks.
“For sure, I think we have a shot at competing with the other two teams in Red Deer,” he said.
“It’s going to come down to all of the pieces falling into place.
“We’re full of potential. It’s just a matter of meeting it.”
The Lightning starters are middles Jackson Osborne and Steel McDonald, left sides Blayne Friesen and Blake Thomson, setter Parker Booth, Libero Matt Lyons and right side Ky McLachlin.
The rest of the roster consists of Dan Billett, Cody Pratt and Dawson Reykdal.
Notre Dame fell 20-25, 20-25 to Calgary Western Canada in the boys B-side final and Lindsay Thurber lost 25-20, 23-25, 11-15 to Sherwood Park Bev Facey in the B-side consolation final.