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Woodland volleyball squad heading back to provincials

Woodland volleyball squad heading back to provincials
Woodland’s senior girls’ volleyball team poses here with their District 8 silver medals. They competed at CWOSSA on Tuesday, taking the championship match, and moving on to OFSAA.[Submitted]
Woodland’s senior girls’ volleyball team poses here with their District 8 silver medals. They competed at CWOSSA on Tuesday, taking the championship match, and moving on to OFSAA. [Submitted]
A decisive win on Tuesday over Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association championship means Woodland Christian High School’s senior girls’ volleyball team is off to the provincial competition for the second consecutive year.

The Breslau school team will compete in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate from Mar. 6-9.

This will conclude another highly successful season for the girls, says head coach Jamie Wright.

“It’s been an excellent season. We had a really competitive league in district eight this year. The top five teams were all very close. Any team could beat any another team on a given night, which was great. It made things really exciting. We ended up finishing first in the regular season and then we won our semi final over St. David, then lost in the final to St. Marys,” Wright said.

Made up of seven returning and five new players, the team has been gunning for another shot at the provincial level, OFSAA, after winning bronze there last year, which was a first for the team. Prior to CWOSSA on Tuesday, he said they were hoping to repeat that success, but it would be a challenging road.

“We haven’t seen any other teams in person but we’ve looked at results. And we expect that all of the teams at CWOSSA will be quite strong. It will be a challenge. We have to win CWOSSA in order to qualify for OFSAA. So it will definitely be a big challenge because all of the other teams were at the top of their league. Even though it’s all A teams at CWOSSA, so the smaller schools, but all of those teams finished at the top of their leagues and those leagues included AA and AAA schools, just like ours,” Wright said.

And compete they did.

They defeated OSCVI 2-0 Tuesday morning to start off CWOSSA. They followed that up with a 2-1 win over Georgian Bay Secondary School and a 1-1 match with Valley Heights Secondary School. They took the championship title after beating OSCVI 3-0 in the final.

“It’s been a highly successful team and the most successful girls volleyball team at Woodland that we’ve had in about 10 years and the fact that they won the first ever OFSAA medal is exciting,” Wright said.

After Christmas they went undefeated in league play up until the end of the regular season.

“That was pretty exciting and that included two come from behind five set wins. We were down 2-0 in matches against St. David and Resurrection and we came back and won those in five sets. Those were two highlights for sure, big comeback wins. And then another highlight would definitely be the semi final win over St. David because that was extremely close. St. David has a very good team and it was a very exciting match,” Wright said.

He says one of the keys to their success has been some strong leadership from their captains, Michaela Hellinga and Marika Frank. They’ll graduate this year.

All the girls have been working well as a team this season, focusing on trying to encourage each other and communicate well.

While last season saw the team rife with injuries, they haven’t been hit as hard this time around.

“We’ve had one player out with a concussion since the beginning of January and she’s still out. It looks unlikely at this point that she’ll be able to make it back. That’s been our one major injury concern this year, a couple other little ones, but not a lot. It’s been much better than last year. Last year was quite a challenge but we do miss having our one player who’s been out since the beginning of January,” Wright said.

Rockway Mennonite Collegiate is hosting OFSAA, but they’re having games at Rockway, at Woodland, and at École Secondaire Catholique Père-René-de-Galinée as well. Now, the team is looking forward to competing at OFSAA in front of their hometown fans.

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