The Aspengrove Ravens senior A girls’ volleyball team not only won a championship, but also made school history last week.
The squad is the first Aspengrove sports team to reach provincials and the first to win a Vancouver Island championship after a victory this past weekend. The Ravens defeated the host Duncan Christian Chargers in the final, 25-19, 15-25, 15-11.
“We played really, really well. I think we played better than we expected that we were going to,” said Rachel Zitek, who plays middle. “We were very excited when we won the semifinals and we were even more ecstatic when we won the finals.”
The Ravens went into the tournament as the No. 3 seed, but were able to beat Lake Cowichan in the semis to reach the finals. They were up against Island single-A powerhouse Duncan Christian, but were undaunted.
“We’ve kind of learned each other’s strengths, what each other could do, and we played that up really strongly…” said Victoria Welte, power hitter. “We didn’t play safe, we just swung at everything because we had nothing to lose.”
Keri Chapdelaine, one of the team’s coaches, said it was great to see the girls play their best volleyball of the season at Islands.
“They played with a lot of energy. By the end of the tournament they were totally tired, because they’d been working so hard,” the coach said.
Sarah Reay, rightside, said the Ravens showed teamwork and also played with a lot of hunger knowing it was their last year together as one group.
“It was pretty emotional when we won…” she said. “We were so happy that we won and all the hard work paid off.”
The players recognize their place now in Aspengrove’s school sports history and said they received a lot of congratulations when they returned to class this week. The primary students cheered the seniors’ achievement and there were other acknowledgements around the school and on social media.
Now that the Ravens have accomplished that, they’ll try to take it a little further. Provincials start Dec. 1 in Kelowna and Aspengrove will be seeded somewhere in the middle. Ina Nuamah, who plays middle, said her team will try to carry its momentum from Islands.
“Basically [we’ll do] what worked for us in the finals – just keep positive on the court, really good communication between all the players and not giving up,” she said.
Reay said her team wants to play with intensity at provincials.
“We really want to do our best,” she said. “It’s our last time playing together as a team; we’ve been together forever, so we really just want to make our last games count with each other.”