Dawson Creek Secondary School women’s volleyball team hosted the ‘AAA’ Zone finals this weekend welcoming Prince George high schools Kelly Road and Duchess Park to the Peace Region.
The DCSS Penguins struggled to reach the finals after being eliminated by the Kelly Road Roadrunners in a best-of-three semifinal. Kelly Road topped DCSS 25-20 and 25-14 to advance to the finals versus the Condors of Duchess Park, who reached the finals with a bye after winning round-robin play on Friday.
Kelly Road would eventually upset the Condors in the finals winning three sets to one in the best-of-five final.
The Runners took the first two sets 25-12 and 25-21; only to allow the Condors back in the match losing the third set 25-18.
The Condors looked to have command of the fourth set, and led 12-5 at one point, but some costly errors and the back-row attack of Kelly Road’s Calyssa Deboer allowed the Runners to come back and take the championship match with a 25-22 fourth set win, and a berth at provincials.
DCSS head coach Carol Sapergia said her team played their best volleyball come Zones, but were overmatched against more experienced Prince George teams, which have players that benefit from a strong club league.
“The only thing that kept us from the playoff game would be morale, we had really good games out there, and the girls played really well we just fell short,” said Sapergia. “They were starting to play smart, and supportive of one another on the floor.”
Sapergia noted that DCSS missed some valuable tournament experience this season, pointing out that Zones was only the fourth tournament all season the girls had played.
DCSS visited Grande Prairie placing 15th out of 25 teams; took second at a Chetwynd tournament; and earned sixth at Prince George.
The Pens lose eight seniors to graduation, including Sydney Sandnes, a former setter that took over mid-blocker roles at Zones – who has played senior volleyball since she was in Grade 10.
Sapergia said the team will miss Sandnes’ athleticism, but has six Grade 11’s ready to fill in next year.
Coach Sapergia expects a busier schedule next season to allow the team time to prepare for the zone championships and compete against squads from down south.
Deboer and setter Alex McKenna took home team most-valuable players for Kelly Road, Maddy Ballantyne and Kiana Koviacevic earned the honours for Duchess Park, and Jill Pavlis and Kori Elden were Penguin tournament MVP’s.