The Donalda boys once again outshone the rest by taking the first place in the 1J Central West Alberta Junior High Athletic Association (CWAJHAA).
With a small team of only seven students, consisting of two Grade 5 (Colby Norman, Daniel Tate), two Grade 7 (Rhett Norman, Timothy Hills), one Grade 8 (Andrew Kneeland) and two Grade 9 (Brayden Hofer, Hunter Nixon) students, coach Amy Smith guided her boys to victory.
“It was a huge acoomplishment for the boys, despite our small appearance of size, we had smarts, determination and played on our strengths to win Castor’s Jr. High Volleyball tournament, a first place in CARA, and then the ultimate title of 1J CWAJHAA 2015, Banner and Plaque,” said coach Amy Smith.
Donalda’s first game was against St. Matthew’s Catholic School where they won both sets, 25-17 and 25-12.
Their next match was against Eckville and was a closer game at 25-23 and 25-18.
“Despite winning the boys had to be smart with their attacks, as the Eckville team was putting up some great blocks on the front line,” said Smith. “Finally in round robin, we met with Mecca Glen and won 25-20, and again 25-22.”
Speaking of the victory, Smith said, “Winning all our sets in the morning allowed the boys to advance to the semi-finals where they faced their toughest opponents, Spruce View.”
According to Smith it was the toughest competition that the boys had faced.
“This was a hard-hitting team, but despite their strong hitter and some serious attacks, our boys came together as a team winning both sets again 25-16 and 25-13,” explained Smith. “It was in this game I saw the team play the tightest and cleanest ever and as a coach I couldn’t have been prouder of them, because they exemplified the true meaning of team work.”
It was this game that advanced them to the final gold medal match where they met Eckville again.
The first set was a battle for point after point keeping a tie game for a long time into the game, but it was their serves and abilities to pick up tips that allowed the Donalda boys to win the first set at 25-16.
“Going into the second set, the boys remained focused, and it was their captain Brayden Hofer that had some strategic hits that helped pull in the finals points of the game finishing the day with 25-11,” said Smith. “Having won the CWAJHAA title last year, I knew the boys had big shoes to fill, but losing three strong Grade 9 players to high school was a huge loss for our team.”
As for the coming year, Smith said, “Our school has always been a volleyball school, and we emphasize leadership in our older students to help continue that legacy to live on.”