For the second consecutive year, the Lindsay Thurber senior girls’ volleyball team are league champions.
On Friday, the Raiders swept the Notre Dame Cougars 3-0 at home in game two of the best of three 4A central zone championships to capture the title in all three sets 25-10, 25-18, and 25-23.
This came the day after they swept the Cougars on their home court in game one in straight sets 25-20, 25-16, and 25-18.
Head coach Kirsten DeZutter said she is so proud of her team.
“I felt they played really consistent in the series and did a really good job at executing and really just focusing point by point,” she said. “I’m really impressed with how they performed at the end.”
At the beginning of the season, DeZutter anticipated the 4A central zone would be a tough one to win and it certainly was. The Raiders however floored an experienced group with seven returning players from last season, five of which are in their senior year. The Grade 12 players include Nadia McKeage, Marin Walton, Jordyn Rudolph, Madelyn DeZutter, and Hanna Mateika.
Despite their recent success, the squad will now turn their attention to the 2022 4A provincial volleyball championships in Lethbridge, where they will compete as defending champions. Thursday, the Raiders will enter provincials as the number one seed and will take on number four-ranked William Aberhart High School from Calgary at 1:15 p.m. They will then play number three-ranked Strathcona High School at 4 p.m. and the number two-ranked Salisbury Composite High from Sherwood Park at 6:30 p.m.
“We’re just really hoping to be competitive, to execute, and to play well … It’s been one of our goals to earn the berth to go there. We just hope to compete in every game and just try to play the best volleyball we possibly can in every game we set foot on the court for,” she said.
In 2018 the Thurber girls senior team won back-t0-back provincial titles and just last season, when they won provincials on their home court it was their third title in five years. This time around they hope to add another trophy to their already stacked display case.
DeZutter said it would be an amazing accomplishment to be able to win consecutive provincial titles but added she tries not to compare her current players every year to former teams.
“We do have graduates and the composition of the team is very different from year to year in a high school volleyball setting … I really believe in just looking forward and then you just hope and encourage the players that have had that previous experience you just hope they bring that to the court and for those on the team,” she said.
“I try not to put any more pressure on them than they already put on themselves.”
The team leads and teaches each other how to win at this level through their actions on the court and their encouragement to their teammates.
Since the beginning of the season, they’ve been striving to improve all of their skills and build for consistency. She has been pleased with how the season has gone so far, especially the resiliency, perseverance, and positivity of her players.
“We embrace that, we celebrate that, and we’re hoping to continue with that heading into the tournament this weekend,” she said.