It might not have been the result that they would have liked, but the girls volleyball team from Hazelton Secondary gave their best and had nothing to regret.
The team ended up 17th in the province. They had a “really rough go at the beginning but they played better than they had ever played before,” according to coach Deanna Giguere.
“The competition was so incredibly fierce and all of those teams were so seasoned at that high level. They are used to that level of competition,” she said.
The Hazelton girls did well looking at the bigger picture.
“They lost four games in the initial pool and then went into the consolation bracket. We ended up winning the consolation bracket. You lose some and you win some. We lost four and won three,” she said.
The games they lost were third set, tight matches that could have gone either way.
“The girls did really well. Those other girls play all year long. They play high school and then they go right into club and then they go to summer camps and then back into high school,” said Giguere. “The beautiful thing for our program is that it’s been growing so much in the last few years and they are actually going to have a club team this year.”
Giguere said half of the team was in Grade 11 and will be returning next year. They plan on playing in the club from December until March. As a result, she feels that the team will fare a little better next year.
Like numerous athletes in the area, many of the girls play other sports such as basketball. In some cases some of the players went right from the volleyball provincials to their next sport and in one case, a player was picked up along the way while she was returning from a rep hockey tournament in Alberta.
“There are a lot of multi-talented girls on the team. They are good all-round athletes,” said Giguere.
Half of the team will be graduating this year and some of them will be turning out for university teams. Those who remain to finish high school next year will be coached by Marcel Melanson, who will be taking over from Giguere.
She won’t be coaching next year due to family and work commitments.
“It proved to be a bit more than I had bargained for. Coaching takes up an immense amount of time and for me, I like to do everything 100 per cent. This was my ninth season coaching, so I’m ready to take a bit of a break. I’ll definitely be back. It’s one of my passions,” she said.
Giguere has been working with many of these girls since they were in Grade 8.
“This was my fifth season with most of the team. These girls became an extension of my biological family,” she said.