The strength of Terrace’s volleyball scene looks to be shining again this season with Skeena Middle School’s Grade 9 girls’ taking second place at the Jr. B Girls Volleyball Kodiak Classic in a hard-fought final against the undefeated College Heights.
Nine teams went head-to-head at the tournament, held Sept. 27-28 at Prince George Secondary School (PGSS).
On Friday, Skeena’s first match was against College Heights – the same team they would later meet in the finals.
The sets proved to be a challenge, with Skeena having difficulty with serve receiving and unable to respond to a strong offensive attack by their opponents.
Skeena finished with a 25-11 loss in the first set and 25-20 in the second.
But they bounced back in their second match against Mackenzie, with strong serves and good net play, cruising to victory with a 25-5 win in the first set and a 25-7 win in the second.
And Saturday saw Skeena up against Duchess Park – consistent serving and a solid offensive attack, combined with strong blocking on the defensive side led them to take the first set 25-19, and the second 25-20.
Skeena’s fourth game against PGSS proved to be a close match, with points knocking back and forth evenly between the two teams over the first two sets, of which PGSS won the first 25-23 and Skeena won the second 25-18. The match was ultimately Skeena’s, with a 15-12 win in the tiebreaking set.
Coach Frank Marrelli credits the team’s positive attitude for the win.
“Never giving up proved to be an asset,” he said.
These results placed Skeena second in its pool and in good position in the playoffs to follow.
Their fifth quarter final game was against DP Todd – a close game with both teams rallying for each point. Skeena proved to be stronger in the end winning 25-18 and 25-15.
This set the team up for its semi-final game versus the first placed team in the other pool, Kelly Road. In this game, Skeena struggled early with confidence and passing but then improved their ability to focus and became motivated, and ultimately made it to the finals.
The finals saw Skeena meet the undefeated team who had beat them in the first match of the tournament – College Heights. But a confident Terrace team came ready to give it their all.
“This match, as expected, proved to be Skeena’s biggest challenge,” said Marrelli.
Both teams exchanged points back and forth, making it a true nailbiter. Both teams screamed with every point earned, and the crowd was treated to an exciting match that involved long rallies and good team spirit.
Skeena lost the first set 25-19, giving College Heights confidence going into the second set – but Skeena didn’t lie down, keeping a two-point spread through most of the match until Skeena finally won 25-23.
But in the third tie-breaking set, College Heights took an early lead and Skeena had difficulty responding, ultimately losing 15-6.
“It was an amazing tournament packed with a roller coaster of emotions for this all Grade 9 team,” said Marrelli, noting he was impressed with the team’s self-confidence and ‘never quit’ attitude.
“The team remained strong mentally and had to battle back in a number of situations to secure their victory. This was only the team’s second tournament this season and will hopefully act as a springboard for future tournaments. Many thanks to all the parents and family members who were able to accompany the team to Prince George (and also those who sent their support by means of social media and text) to cheer us on and assist as needed,” he said.