The athletes who make up Fort St. James Secondary School’s senior girl’s volleyball team are bursting with pride as they have qualified to go to their first provincial championships in 12 years.
“They’re just the right group of girls,” says head coach Izzy Willick, “and they’re very hard working.”
Willick has had many competitive teams over the dozen year drought, but the North Central Zone, which includes Prince George, has only been allotted one berth.
This year, the zone has been allowed two, so the local Falcons and the girls from Cedars Christian School made the cut.
The two teams met in the zone finals recently.
It was a grueling affair between the avian squads, which the Cedars Christian Eagles managed to emerge victorious from, after prevailing 15-11 in the fifth set.
The Fort St. James team had to best a game Burns Lake crew in the semi-finals to clinch their spot in the provincials.
Willick says the team’s goal is to place higher than their ranking.
“We’re currently ranked 17th,” she says, “so our goal is to go in and place above that.”
She adds the provincials for Single A girls are typically extremely competitive, so the team will be happy to get the experience and provincial exposure regardless.
While the whole team has played up to a very high level, Willick says they owe a lot to their two all-stars, Vicky Blackmore and Emily Geernaert.
“Vicky is our centre and without her we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere,” she says. “And Emily is extremely hard working. She’s our middle that goes after every ball.
“Both girls play the entire game, every game.”
The matches will be held in Nanaimo from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. The athletes and coaches will be stuffing themselves into a school bus a couple days before the first game, so they can relax and get into competition mode before they have to get on the court.