The Grade 8 girls volleyball zones were held at Prince Rupert Middle School over the weekend, with Hazelton coming away as champions following a perfect run through the final.
Six teams competed in the regional tournament, with Smithers bringing a heavy contingent of three teams. The Smithers Secondary School (SSS) fielded a pair of Gryphons teams, and were joined in city representation by the Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School (ECRS). Hazelton Secondary School and the Skeena Middle School (SMS) out of Terrace made the trip as well, with the tournament rounded out by host side PRMS.
The action started on Friday night, as the #4 seeded hosts took on ECRS. The fifth ranked visitors pulled off the upset, leaving PRMS in a must-win game against SSS A. Unfortunately for the home side though their serves were not quite on point, dropping the game to bow out of the tournament.
|The PRMS Grade 8 girls volleyball team fought hard, but will have to wait for next year for another shot at the Northwest Zone banner. (Submitted photo)|
|The Smithers Gryphons set up their return during the Northwest Zone final against Hazelton. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
In the other Friday action, Hazelton won both their games against SMS and SSS B to book themselves a spot in Saturday’s semi-final. The third seeded Hazelton ran their winning streak to three by defeating ECRS, earning a trip to the final. On the other side, the high powered matchup between #1 SMS and #2 SSS A saw the Smithers side taste victory to join Hazelton in the deciding game.
|Athletes from the Smithers Gryphons have their eye on the ball as Hazelton sends the serve their way during the final. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
First up was the third place matchup where the city of Smithers won their first medal, the bronze, through an ECRS win. Following that it was time for Hazelton and SSS A to go at it. The back and forth final saw each team win a set, leading to an all deciding first-to-15 third set. A string of aces were the deciding factor as Hazelton roared back from a multiple-point deficit in the final set to capture the Northwest Zone banner.
“They played fantastic the whole weekend,” James Combs, coach of the Hazelton team, said following the tournament win. He credited the girls’ serves for allowing them to take that next step and grab the title.
|Hazelton celebrates a point won during the final set against Smithers in the championship game. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
Hazelton’s Bella Combs was named MVP of the tournament. She received an All-Star nod as well, where she was joined by teammate Amy Snider, Erin Wierenga from ECRS, Navi Macknak and Clara Pesch from SSS A, and Rennie Laychuk from PRMS.
|The Grade 8 Girls Northwest Zones All-Star team: Rennie Laychuk (PRMS), Erin Wierenga (ECRS), Bella Combs (Hazelton), Amy Snider (Hazelton), Clara Pesch (SSS A) and Navi Macknak (SSS A). (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Hazelton’s Bella Combs holds the championship banner following her team’s victory in the final. Combs was named MVP of the tournament. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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