Parents, teachers and former players packed the stands Saturday to watch École H. J. Cody Lakers senior girls volleyball team win gold during Central Zone finals.
“I’ve never seen it that loud before, it was a different atmosphere,” said coach Jason Chatwood.
The girls went through the tournament undefeated, winning both games in round robin play — against Camrose and West Central from Rocky Mountain House. Then they beat Ponoka in the semi-final before progressing to the final against Lacombe Rams.
In that match they won 25-17, lost 23-25 and then won the final 15-9.
The Lakers completed their regular league play with a 7-1 record and first place so were number one seed going into the weekend, said Chatwood.
“The girls saved their best for last this weekend,” he said. “This is the best all-round effort I have seen from them. Everyone contributed and they deserve to wear that gold medal.”
The team has been getting better and better all season. “They’re working really hard at practices — it’s been fast paced, awesome,” the coach said.
There has been lots of volleyball in the last couple of months for these girls. They played in five tournaments as well as all the league games.
“The girls have worked extremely hard all year and have come together as a team to accomplish their goal of making the provincial tournament,” Chatwood said. “I truly believe with the team that we have, if we play the way we can, there is a very good chance that we could medal at the provincial level. It is a very exciting time here at H. J. Cody and the girls should be very proud of themselves.”
Last year the Lakers lost in zones to Lacombe who went on to win provincials.
“It helped the girls who were there last year, seeing what it takes to win the zone tournament,” noted Chatwood.
The Lakers will represent the Central Zone at 3A Provincial Finals which are being held Nov. 28-30 at Edmonton’s Saville Centre.
Chatwood said that since this is the 50th anniversary of the provincial tournament, Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) is hosting all boys and girls levels at the same location. That means there will be 96 different teams competing over three days.