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Local volleyball team wins Nationals Gold

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Natalie Allan (F-B, L-R), Autumn Tanner, Aleesa Morisson, Veronica Saboe, Maren Vincent, Ana Weber, J’lyn Schnieder, Laryssa Huber, Kara Wilkie, Brooke Wilkie, and Rachel Seale (Coach). (Wildfire photo)

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Fine individual and collective play by a local club team resulted in its winning Gold at this year’s Canadian Nationals Volleyball Tournament.

South-West Central Wildfire defeated Central Valley Impact (Saskatchewan) in the Division Finals of the three-day event held in the Olympic Oval, Calgary, May 18-20.

“We struggled a bit early in the tournament and lost some close matches. The girls knew they could play better. We reevaluated our hitting strategy and began setting the middle more. It made a big difference. We played great when it counted,” said Rachel Seale, the team’s head coach.

Wildfire defeated Cranbrook Kodiaks in straight sets in the quarters, but not without being seriously challenged.

“We were trailing badly in the second set. I called a timeout, and we began focusing our blocks on their main hitter. That, and some great serving by the girls, got us back in the game,” says Seale.

Wildfire came back to win the set 28-26.

After straight-set wins against SLVC Storm (Slave Lake) in the semi-finals, Wildfire faced Central in the Finals.

“We were worried. They were big, and had beaten a good team from Newfoundland,” says Seale.

Strong as Central was, Wildfire dominated the match, winning 25-21, 25-20.

“I am proud of the girls’ level of play, especially when considering the many city teams in the tourney,” said Seale.

“Those teams cut as many as 50-70 girls when selecting players, so their rosters are pretty strong. Just the same, we matched up quite well against the ones we faced.”

Wildfire’s team is comprised of players from the surrounding area, including Alix, Bashaw, Brownfield, Daysland, Donalda, Forestburg, and Stettler.



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