SILVER FROM NATIONALS - The SLVC Wave Black went all the way to the finals in the Volleyball Canada Under 18 National Tournament. The team travelled to Edmonton May 4-7, and played well enough to face the Cats Club from Manitoba in the finals.

Sylvan Lake Volleyball Club takes home silver

National competition pushed players out of their comfort zone, playing against volleyballers from other provinces.

Two teams from the Sylvan Lake Volleyball Club (SLVC) ended their season with silver medals from the Under 18 National competition.

The SLVC Wave Blue and Black teams travelled to Edmonton May 4-7 to compete against teams from all across the country.

The teams ended in different division and tiers to earn their silver medals. Wave Blue earned the silver in Division Three-Tier Four, while Wave Black earned the silver in Division Two-Tier Two.

Wave Blue Coach Wayne Halliday said the tournament was a particularly good experience for the girls.

“We got to play teams from all over, not just here in Alberta. I think we got lucky and we only ended up playing one team we had previously played,” said Halliday.

Halliday says it was good for the players to experience teams that were completely new to them, without any scouting or history behind the game.

“Each game was the teams playing at their best, against those of the same calibre,” Halliday said.

Over three days both teams played a lot – Blue played a total of eight games and Black finished the tournament with nine games.

Playing in a tournament is exhausting work, add to it crazy hours – with Blue generally finishing games around 9:30 p.m. each night – and heat from a poorly ventilated gymnasium, equals fatigued players.

In the final match for both teams it was hard to tell what was the cause for the fall to second place.

Halliday said it could have been the other team being a tougher match or the heat or the exhaustion of the weekend.

“In our final game we were really evenly matched,” Halliday said.

Halliday added Blue had a lot of good moments during the game and a few intense rallies and a few breathless shots.

In the end Wave Blue came up just shy of beating the Queen City Volleyball Club Royals from Saskatchewan.

“We had good rallies but came up short and that just made all the difference in the end.”

For Black, the national tournament was an emotional one.

The team had six players who were 18, and will be unable to play next year.

“It’s a big deal for a lot of girls. It is often the last chance to play volleyball competitively.”

Three of the departing players have been signed to play volleyball at the college level.

Rachel Stewart, a setter from Rocky Mountain House, has signed to play with Medicine Hat College, Abby Grobiemier, a libro player from Red Deer, will be playing with Olds College and middle player Amy Mudler signed with Augustana College.

“We are such a small club that it means so much to see our girls make into post-secondary with volleyball,” said Halliday.

The tournament was an “exciting” way to end the season for the teams, according to Halliday, who is already looking forward to next season.