OLDS — The École Olds High School senior girls' volleyball team emerged from the south central zone championships in High River the weekend of Nov. 16 with a bronze medal.
“A gruelling draw had them defeat Strathmore Friday night and after four straight matches Saturday claimed the bronze. Their only losses were to the eventual first and second place teams,” head coach Wanda Vandervelden wrote in an email.
Cochrane won the gold medal and Springbank the silver.
Vandervelden noted the Spartans had a very successful season this year.
They finished second at the St. Joseph’s High School tournament in Red Deer, won their home Spartan Smash tournament and the consolation in Canmore before obtaining the bronze medal at zones.
“This group of girls was committed to making everyone better and playing as a team; a group that loved being with each other,” Vandervelden wrote.
During an interview, Vandervelden said a big reason the Spartans failed to advance further is that the teams that finished first and second – Cochrane and Springbank – have several players who play club volleyball in addition to volleyball at school, so they have more experience.
“We could match them defensively but offensively we just couldn’t,” she said.
Vandervelden said club volleyball is just not feasible for many Olds players.
“It’s quite a way (to travel) and quite a commitment,” she said.
Vandervelden figures the fact the Spartans played some tough teams and emerged with a bronze medal will stand them in good stead for next year.
“Our setters will have more experience,” she said.
Overall, Vandervelden is proud of how the Spartans did in zones.
“They fought right to the end,” she said.
“I couldn’t ask any more of them,” she added, noting they played a lot of volleyball that weekend.