The North Peace Ookapiks cast a large shadow on the PGSS Polars last weekend.
Bringing more intensity, determination and using their net game to their advantage the Ooks swept the Polars 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-19) in the best-of-five championship match at the North Central District quadruple-A girls volleyball championship at PGSS on Saturday.
With two quadruple-A berths, from the zone, to provincials Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Surrey, both teams qualified for the B.C. championship. Not content on playing second fiddle to North Peace in Surrey, PGSS will be seeking revenge at provincials. Polars head coach Allan Tong said they lacked intensity in Saturday’s zone final.
“We’re really stressing to the girls they need to communicate a lot more, [they need to be] a lot more vocal on the court because by doing that it really brings their game up,” he said following the loss in the zone championship. “They get more intense, they get more involved.”
The other team in the zone competition, South Peace of Dawson Creek, fell short of a provincials berth. South Peace finished 0-3 overall in the competition, eliminated following a three-set (21-25, 25-18 and 15-10) loss to PGSS in the semifinal match.
North Peace finished 2-0 in the round robin to earn the bye to the championship game. They defeated PGSS 2-0 (25-16, 26-24) and South Peace 2-0 (25-15, 25-17). In the other round robin match, the Polars downed South Peace 2-0 (25-13, 25-14).
“It feels really, really good,” North Peace assistant coach Heather Best said in regards to winning the gold medal match at zones. “The girls played really well. They won all four of their matches. We’re just really proud of them because they kept it up the entire time. The intensity was good, the focus was good.
“I think we really, really wanted [to win the zone championship] bad and we tried to play with as few errors as possible, and it just really came together and clicked.”
Around the net the Ookapiks were the better team. Using their height to their advantage on the front court Dana Cranston and Amy Norman, who each stand about 6’2″, held the Polars attack at bay.
“They were very dominant in blocking,” Tong said. “We just couldn’t get past the blocks. Their big players came out to play and that was a big difference for them, and the players on my team need to step up. I’m being a little critical here, but I hope that brings out the best in the girls.”
The Polars were a little rusty in the championship match. PGSS Grade 12 player Shea-Marie Glass rolled her ankle during practice last Thursday, and was among a few Polars playing a little under the weather. Glass missed a portion of the round robin and semi-final match versus South Peace.
PGSS will be looking to improve on the 2006 provincials, in which they finished last out of 16 teams. With only one zone berth, North Peace fell short a year ago.
All-stars in the zone championship were Glass, Gracie Odermatt (North Peace) and Callie Killoran (South Peace). Kaitlyn Blackall of North Peace was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“[North Peace] played with a lot of desire,” Tong said. “Everybody on the court on their side played terrific.”