A Central Alberta volleyball team won silver medal in its first tournament of the 2018 season.
The Central Alberta U18 Queens competed in the Volleyball AB Club Premier #1 tournament in Calgary last weekend, where they went 12-0 before losing to the Calgary Dinos in the final.
The Dinos have won multiple provincial championships in a row, said Miles Kydd, Queens head coach.
“We’ve been trying to sneak up on them,” said Kydd. “We need to beat them eventually … and our goal this year is to knock off those Dinos.”
The Queens fell in two straight sets in the final, but were leading near the end of the second set.
The Dinos’ size advantage played a factor in the loss.
“They serve really tough – I have to give them credit. Their serving put us into a hole and their big blockers were able to get out on our girls.
“Our offence wasn’t as good as it had been (earlier in the tournament). They passed well and we didn’t serve well so they were able to run their offence. Their size at that point matters a lot,” said Kydd.
Kydd said the size differential wouldn’t be a big problem if his team does a good job of passing.
The team’s silver medal performance will seed them in the top four in Alberta for the next Premier tourney March 10-11 in Calgary.
Last year, the Queens finished with a bronze medal in the provincial championships. The team is aiming for gold this year.
“We have a good group – they’ve been friends for a long time. I think the best thing is how deep our lineup is. Our chemistry is one of our strengths,” said Kydd.
Jade Bussard, U18 Queens captain, said the team had a very solid tournament.
“It was definitely a good start to our season and kind of sets the tone. There weren’t really any weaknesses in our game,” Bussard said.
This will be the 17-year-old’s third and final season with the Queens; she’ll play at the University of British Columbia Okanagan starting this fall.
Bussard, a Grade 12 student at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School, said she thinks the team has a good chance of winning at provincials.
“I’d be very excited to win provincials,” she said. “Half of our team is from Lindsay Thurber and they won provincials for schools, but since I wasn’t a part of that I’d like to know what it’s like.”
It would be a completely different experience winning provincials in schools and in clubs, Bussard added.
Bussard is one of six Queens who have signed with post secondary volleyball teams for next year; three with Red Deer College, two with the University of British Columbia Okanagan and one with Mount Royal University.
Kydd said all 12 Queens could play on an Alberta college team.
“Part of the reason I do what I do is to give the players an opportunity to play in college or university,” said Kydd.