Cougars complete “unforgettable season” at volleyball provincials

After strong showings at the conference tournament and regionals, the CCS Cougars senior girls volleyball team competed at provincials in Assiniboia on November 15 and 16.

The Cougars won the conference tournament in Sturgis with a record of two wins and one loss, with a defeat to Kelvington and victories over Creighton and the host Sturgis/Norquay team, said Colin Knight, coach.

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The Cougars went on to regional playoffs in Lanigan. The tournament included losses against Lanigan and Punnichy, but the team secured a top-ten provincial ranking and a berth in provincials by winning the match against Sturgis/Norquay. 

“We've played Sturgis many times during the season, with both teams taking wins and losses, many times going the full three sets in the best-of-three matches,” said Knight. “It's been a great rivalry and I have a lot of respect for the coach and players of that team. Much like them, we strive for a higher standard of competitive play and sportsmanship. I've seen other teams give up disgracefully or play unethically, and inevitably they lose out in the end with nothing to stand for. I don't see that in the two teams that advanced to the regional playoffs from East Central, Canora and Sturgis/Norquay.”

At provincials in Assiniboia, Canora team members once again displayed their high standard of conduct on and off the court, said Knight.

“The ability of this team to maintain composure is admirable and it sets the bar high for any team competing at any level of play in any sport,” he said. “Victories are celebrated with respect, and losses are taken with unabashed acceptance and humility, driving the team to reset and take on the next possible play completely recharged. Canora lost to Lanigan, Kipling, Esterhazy, and La Loche in round robin, which placed us at ninth or tenth in the province for 3A girls.”

Knight said the team’s graduating seniors will be missed next year.

“I wish Ally Sleeva, Jordelle Lewchuk, Rebekah Thomas, Ashley Stusek, and Megan Barteski the best of luck in the remainder of their Grade 12 year,” he said. “I will remember the digs, the aces, the spikes, the blocks, the six-pack, and the many hilarious moments on and off the court.  It was a pleasure to teach these girls back in the middle school years and to return to coaching them in their final year of high school. To the team as a whole, thank you for an unforgettable season, and I look forward to a competitive 2020 season.”

Knight said Shelby Lang, assistant coach, was a valuable member of the team behind the scenes throughout the season, serving as the team statistician and looking after other details as needed.

‘It was a privilege to coach with such a kind-hearted and strong individual,” he said. “I know she'll make an excellent teacher and a successful coach one day.”