By CASEY VAN WENSEM
April 13, 2017 · Updated 4:25 PM
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Tailyn Parchewsky winds up for a spike during the semifinals of the U-16 girls’ volleyball tournament, held at Wm. E. Hay on Saturday, April 8. / Casey van Wensem/Stettler Independent

Stettler’s U-16 club volleyball teams hosted their first Alberta Volleyball premiere tournament this Saturday, April 8 at Wm. E. Hay school. Tournament hosts Clearview Blue Synergy 1 made it to the finals, but lost to the Leduc Rebels with a score of 25-15, 22-25, and 11-15.

Both of Stettler’s Clearview Blue Synergy teams are new to the club volleyball circuit this year.

The two teams were created when the former Castor Crush team was expanded to include players from Stettler and the surrounding region.

When the expansion occurred, the team received so much interest from players that coach Donald Seale decided to create two teams.

So far, both teams have been performing at a competitive level, with Clearview Blue Synergy 1 making it to the finals in their second premiere tournament, and finishing fourth in their third premiere tournament, which was held recently in Calgary.

“For us to compete against teams from bigger cities is a pretty tough thing, but we’re able to do it,” Seale said.

Kids from smaller schools such as Donalda School, where Seale teaches, often start playing earlier than kids in bigger cities, which makes them competitive when it comes to tournaments like this, Seale explained.

“It’s really a positive and growing experience to be able to compete at a high level like that,” he added.

For Seale, creating growth experiences is what the Clearview Blue Synergy volleyball program is all about.

“These teams give an opportunity for kids who may never compete at a higher level to be on a team and have all the benefits and growth experiences that come from being on a team, of which there are many,” Seale said. “We want to make sure that we’re offering this club program to kids who are trying to take their skill level one step higher.”

Coach Seale wanted to host a tournament in Stettler to bring the competition closer to home for both players and parents.

“The parents don’t have to drive, they don’t have to rent hotel rooms, because we’re right here at home,” Seale said.

Teams came from places like Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove and St. Albert to compete in the day-long tournament.

However, this tournament was different from the tournaments that most players were accustomed to.

“Perhaps you get three or four matches in a day in a regular tournament,” Seale commented. “This tournament had six matches for each of the ten teams that entered. So there really was no downtime.”

The idea was to create what Seale called a “volleyball feast” for the players.

Seale also said that if the tournament is well received, Clearview Blue Synergy will consider making it an annual event.

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