The Seaway District High School senior girls volleyball team made school history last Thursday when they claimed the EOSSAA championship in a wildly exciting match with the Embrun Panthers.
“The championship game was the best I’ve seen the girls play together as a team all season,” said elated coach Lindsay Waddell.
It was a tough battle from start to finish with seldom more than a handful of points separating the Spartans and the Panthers as they battled for the championship.
For Seaway, it was a huge team effort that saw them sweep the match with 25-20 and 24-21 wins.
“We were confident in our skills,” said Waddell. “But Embrun is a very strong team. They won gold at OFSAA in 2011 and 2012 and were the number one overall seed at OFSAA in 2013. “I think my girls were intimidated at first, but they had the drive and the confidence that they could beat them.”
“I give Embrun a lot of credit, they are a very strong team and gave us a real fight. But my girls just seemed to really want it.”
“We were very sound, defensively. The girls dug up everything that Embrun threw at them, and made some strong offensive plays when needed.”
Waddell credited her entire team for a great day of ball and a great team effort. Members of the team include Kaitlyn Geurkink, Tiffany Roskell, Casey McNairn, Shannon van Moorsel, Jessica Hartle, Katrina Geurkink, Sophia Currier, Ali VanHoof and Allison Lee.
She says she had some big efforts from several of her veterans, including Currier (setter and co-captain) “who really leads by example. We wouldn’t be the same team without Sophia. There is no ball that is out of her reach, and she always puts us in a position to have an attack.”
Kaitlyn Geurkink (middle) also had a very strong game. Kaitlyn had some big blocks against Embrun’s best players, and had some kills that put us in a position to win both sets.”
“Casey McNairn, our right side hitter and our co-captain also gave a very strong defensive performance. Casey was all over the court, and was willing to sacrifice her body at any given moment to dig up a ball.”
A big game was played by Jessica Hartle, who is “always a positive influence on the team”.
“Embrun is an extremely good team, and I am so proud of all of my girls. They pushed hard all day and gave it everything they had. They deserve to be EOSSAA champs. I’m excited to see what they can do at OFSAA.”
Playing in the B pool, Seaway had a strong round robin performance.
The wiped out Athens 25-8 and 25-7, and then easily handled Renfrew 25-11 and 25-20. In the B pool’s third game Renfrew defeated Athens in three sets to finish in second spot.
In the A pool, Embrun also went undefeated with 25-10 and 25-8 wins against Almonte and 25-18 and 25-10 wins Granite Ridge. Granite took the other win over Almonte in three sets.
For the semi-finals Seaway (A pool) played second place Granite (B pool) and defeated them quite handily 25-14 and 25-6, while Embrun had a bit tougher time against Renfrew (2nd A pool) but ended up winning in two sets 25-8 and 28-26.
The Spartans will travel to Richmond Hill, March 3-5, to compete in the Ontario Championship.
In other action last week, coach Lilace McIntyre took her junior Spartans to EOSSAA in Deep River last week missing two of her starters due to academic commitments.
As a result the Junior Spartans did not get the results they had hoped for. They had a really rough time against Renfrew Collegiate losing both sets, and although they played better against Marie Rivier, Kingston, again they lost both sets.
Both the Junior and Senior girls teams won the SD&G championships two weeks ago.