Exploits teams continued to dominate the provincial volleyball scene last weekend as three Grand Falls-Windsor female teams medaled at two different tournaments.
The undefeated Exploits Valley High (EVH) girls volleyball team swept the Subway Classic invitational tournament in Clarenville, putting their match record so far this season at an impressive 16 wins, and no losses.
At the same time, two Exploits Valley Intermediate (EVI) teams dominated the Kane’s Ultramar Invitational in Lewisporte, with both teams making it to the final. The A team ended up beating the B team for the gold.
EVH coach Craig Hoskins said last weekend’s tournament was a huge confidence boost for his team, as they were up against 23 of the top teams in the province.
“The biggest highlight for our team (that weekend) was getting over the hurdle of beating Mount Pearl, which I consider probably our biggest competition going into the 4A (provincials) at the end of the year,” said Hoskins.
Hoskins said the Mount Pearl team beat them in their first set, and EVH were behind by five points in the second.
“Then our team rallied, and we turned it up to another level. From that point on we just dominated them and we won the third and final set 15-4.”
Hoskins said his team received a lot of support from parents and friends who came out to cheer them on.
“There was actually a point during the game where the other coach was complaining that our fans from Grand Falls-Windsor were making too much noise, which is the first time I’ve seen that in a tournament,” he said with a laugh. “It was good to see the fan support we had out there.”
The tournament gave the team a chance to focus on utilizing their strong points and identifying their weak ones, said Hoskins.
“We served very strong, out of all the teams there we were applying the pressure with our serve from every point...and I think our attack was second to none,” he said, adding defense was their main area needing improvement.
Three of the EVH girls were recognized for their efforts over the weekend; Samantha Gerbig received the tournament MVP award, while Drew Pardy and D’onna Jewer received all-star awards.
As of press time on Friday, Hoskins said his team was gearing up to compete in VolleyFest, a 180-plus-team supertournament that was set to take place this past weekend, along with another senior girls’ team and one senior boys’ team from EVH.
“This will be my sixth year coaching and for the past five years a team from Sackville (Nova Scotia) has won VolleyFest,” he said. “This year we’re looking to be the first Newfoundland team in a little while in the female A division to win it.”
While Hoskins’ senior girls teams were winning in Clarenville last weekend, Coach Dave Jewer’s EVI junior A team was doing the same in Lewisporte at the Kane’s Ultramar Invitational.
Jewer said his team easily overpowered the competition, only dropping one set in their six games.
The second EVI team, the school’s junior B team, also performed well in Lewisporte, only a week after winning gold in their tier at VolleyWest. Their great showing resulted in the two EVI teams competing in the final for the gold medal.
“It’s good to see two of them in the final, but it’s never good to have to beat your own school,” said Jewer. “I think it says a lot about our program.”
Jewer said the tournament gave his team an opportunity to improve one area of their game that needed attention.
“Our weaknesses were sticking with our defensive system, because some of the girls tried to guess where the ball was going and move there before the ball was actually played to us,” he said. “But later on in the tournament we actually got to stick to the system, and reacted to the play when it happened.”
Zara Dogar of the winning EVI team was awarded the tournament MVP award, while another player from the same team, Brittany Brown, was given the sportsmanship award.
As of press time, both EVI teams intended on participating in VolleyFest. Jewer said last weekend was a confidence boost for his team going into the large tournament.
“They were all pretty excited,” said Jewer. “It’s been a learning process for us, we’re just trying to learn a new way of going about what the girls are doing because it’s more or less a new team.”