For the first time in 26 years, the Bert Church Chargers junior boys’ volleyball team captured the South Central Zones banner Nov. 16, after a two-day tournament held at George McDougall High School.
The team swept its round-robin matches Nov. 15 – overcoming the Cochrane Cobras, Foothills Falcons and Strathmore Spartans – and dominated again the next day with a repeat win against Cochrane, before beating out the Olds Spartans in the championship match.
“We saved our best two sets for the zones final against Olds, who are a really good team,” head coach Ian Ferguson said.
“We did a really good job of minimizing our mistakes and making sure we put ourselves in a position where we weren’t shooting ourselves in the foot by missing serves. We were able to give ourselves that opportunity to make a good pass, get on the attack and then put it onto the other team to have to defend.”
Due to a lack of interest, the Chargers opted not to field a senior boys’ team this year. The presence of Grade-11 players on the junior varsity (JV) team meant the Chargers’ regular-season matches did not count toward the league standings.
However, Grade-11 players were eligible in the zones tournament, according to Ferguson, as some of the schools are grades 10 to 12, and JV teams at those schools can field junior players.
Despite only playing in tournaments and exhibition fixtures, Ferguson said his players remained positive throughout the campaign, and kept their sights set on zones.
“I’m just really proud of this group of guys – it definitely was a situation that wasn’t standard,” he said. “It wasn’t what anyone expected to have happen in our season, [but they] stayed positive, played together and worked towards this [zones banner] as our goal.”