The Hunting Hills Lightning won the 4A CASAA zone champions after knocking off the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in the best of three series Saturday at Hunting Hills High School. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

The Hunting Hills Lightning won the 4A CASAA zone champions after knocking off the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in the best of three series Saturday at Hunting Hills High School. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Hunting Hills Lightning win high school 4A zone volleyball title

Knock off the two-time defending provincial champion Lindsay Thurber Raiders

By the end of it, the “Let’s Go Hunting” chants were goosebump-inducing.

The Hunting Hills Lightning had finally slain its nemesis, winning the Central Alberta Schools Athletic Association 4A Zone Volleyball women’s title in convincing fashion.

Hunting Hills knocked off the two-time Alberta Schools Athletic Association 4A Provincial Champion Lindsay Thurber Raiders in the last match of the best-of-three zone final.

They swept the Raiders in three sets (26-24, 25-20, 25-6) in their home gym Saturday, in front of a raucous home crowd that aided the road to victory.

The Lightning left no doubt, running away with the third set and smashing ball after ball through the Raiders block.

“It’s just been a really long time coming,” said Lightning grade 12 outside hitter Avery Burgar.

“For us, (Lindsay) Thurber has won provincials the last two years and we knew we had a good team this year and we were ready for this game. Just a little nervous in the first game. Ready to come out (Friday) and we knew we had it at the beginning (Saturday), we were ready.”

Lightning head coach Adam Sillery found it tough to find the words to describe how much the win meant to the team and the program.

“Coaches and teachers put in an extraordinary amount of time into kids and teams. Anybody across Canada, it’s all volunteer but we spend so much time with these kids and get to know them so well, it becomes very emotional. Aside from volleyball. You create such good connections with the athletes,” he said.

“After grinding for a few years and coming up against (Lindsay) Thurber who is always an extreme competitor and always has great teams, to win this one it’s hard to put into words.”

Saturday’s win concluded a miraculous run after the Raiders took the first match Thursday at Hunting Hills in a wild five-setter. From that point forward, the Lightning didn’t lose a set, winning three straight at Lindsay Thurber Friday to force the deciding game Saturday.

“I think a lot of belief that we knew we could win,” said Lightning co-captain and libero Camryn Martinez about the comeback.

“We let them win that first (match) it was hard. But I think it just fired us up even more and beat them in their gym. We swept them, we knew we could do it. It was just a belief system in every one of our teammates to do it.”

Burgar was a force in the victory and the series, burying booming kills throughout the final two matches and willing the Lightning to a win.

“Avery was an absolute beast. Unbelievable, throughout the whole series,” said Sillery.

“She played great every single night. She has an intense desire to win. She’s an extraordinary student, athlete and I just love her as a person”

While Burgar was the catalyst, right side Taylor Leroux and Grade 10 Paige Roslinsky evened out the Lightning attack and made it just too much to stop for the defending provincial champs.

Earlier this season, a glimpse into what transpired Saturday was put on display. It was the Lightning that knocked off the two-time provincial champs in their home tournament, setting up a season where the Lightning finished first in the zone and inspired the confidence they needed to be champions.

“The first time we beat them was in their gym, we were down two sets and we came back and won it in five,” Burgar recalled.

“That knowing that we could do it and knowing we were good enough and that we had the strength to do it.”

The Lightning will now represent the zone at the 4A ASAA Provincial Championships in Edmonton next weekend. Lindsay Thurber received a wildcard bid and will also attend provincials.

The Notre Dame Cougars senior men also earned a wildcard berth and will attend provincials in Edmonton.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Man charged following police chases last summer is sentenced

Alexander Michael Talbot sentenced to 22 months in prison

COVID-19 test kit. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Deer businesses can order COVID testing kits from the Chamber

Kits are being provided through a partnership with the Alberta government

(Advocate file photo)
Pastor, candidate under restraining order arrested for allegedly breaking COVID laws

CALGARY — A Calgary mayoral candidate who is under a restraining order… Continue reading

Pro-Palestinian protesters run from police following a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Tensions flare at Israel-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal, Toronto

Tensions ran high at competing demonstrations over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in both… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, then-vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. An expert in military affairs says the sudden departure of the  general in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout is unlikely to have any impact on the high-profile program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada to get 4.5M vaccine doses as questions swirl around immunization effort

OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19… Continue reading

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals silent on nature of Fortin probe or who will replace him on vaccine campaign

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is scrambling to reassure Canadians that the… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon Wheat Kings, the team announced Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer Rebels acquire goaltender Connor Ungar, forward Liam Keeler in separate trades

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon… Continue reading

A woman attends a vigil in front of the hospital where Joyce Echaquan died in Joliette, Que., on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Hospital staff testify today at Quebec coroner’s inquiry into death of Joyce Echaquan

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Que. — Medical staff from a Quebec hospital where Joyce Echaquan… Continue reading

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on February 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa looking for 2,000 new energy auditors to get home retrofit program going

OTTAWA — The federal government is looking to train 2,000 more people… Continue reading

A person waits outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, May 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Ontario opens shots to 18+, Quebec opens drive-thru, as COVID vaccine efforts expand

Quebec is opening a drive-thru vaccine clinic at its busiest airport and… Continue reading

Calgary Flames players celebrate the team's overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Lindholm OT winner gives Flames 6-5 win over Canucks despite blowing four-goal lead

VANCOUVER — In a game with little to play for besides pride,… Continue reading

In this photo taken on May 13, 2021, Russia's performer, Manizha, smiles during an interview after rehearsing at the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For many, the stage and global television audience of millions is a chance to express messages of inclusion, strength and positivity. Manizha has a message of strength for women in her song whose lyrics include the lines: "Every Russian Woman. Needs to know. You're strong enough to bounce against the wall." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Eurovision Song Contest returns despite coronavirus pandemic

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Pounding beats? Check. Uplifting lyrics? Check. Huge, backlit… Continue reading

Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Italy's Lisa Pigato during their match at the Emilia Romagna Open tennis tournament, in Parma, Monday, May 17, 2021. Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open. Williams accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
Serena Williams posts 1st victory in more than 3 months

PARMA, Italy (AP) — Serena Williams earned her first victory in more… Continue reading

Most Read