Saints win junior high zone volleyball title

High Prairie St. Andrew’s Saints players in Grade 9, their final junior year, hold the zone championship banner. Left-right, are Casey Billings, Brynn Amyotte, Amanda Donahue, Carley Cox, Sara Pruden and Jemma Hesse.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The High Prairie St. Andrew’s Saints won the North West High School 2J Junior Girls’ Volleyball Championship Nov. 3-4 in Peace River.

St. Andrew’s defeated the Fairview Cobras 25-15, 25-8 in the final of the 12-team tournament.

Saints’ coach Leanne Cox says the girls were on the top of their game to go undefeated in the tournament.

“Having closely defeated the Cobras earlier in the season, the girls continued to stay calm and focused and ‘play smart’,” says Cox, who coached the team with Jaime Amyotte.

“The girls read the other team well to defeat the Cobras and win the championship.”

St. Andrew’s defeated Grande Prairie Christian School Lions in the semifinals.

“This was a new team the Saints had yet to play and they knew they would have to work extra hard,” Cox says.

“The Lions were a strong defensive team but the Saints continued to do what they do best – consistent passing and serve placement.”

In the quarter-finals, the Saints defeated their school High Prairie School Division rivals, Donnelly Georges. P. Vanier Vipers, of Donnelly, 25-9, 25-1.

To start the tournament, the Saints defeated the host Peace High Nomads 25-18, 25-20 in round-robin play in their pool.

“Even though the Saints had played the Nomads a couple of times this season, the games were close and the girls knew they could not take this match-up lightly,” Cox says.

They defeated the La Crete Lancers in two sets to finish first in their pool.

Coaches say the Saints played consistently strong on their way to the championship.

“The continued to play the same this tournament as they did all season; strong offensive and defensive play with serve placement, strong passes and above all, excellent teamwork,” Cox says.

“So many things made this a season to remember.

“Although there were no individual awards handed out at the tournament, both coaches praise all our players for their own individual part in having such as successful season.”

The Saints lost only one set a match all season.

St. Andrew’s won five tournaments and finished second in another tournament.

“At our year-end wind-down, one player actually said ‘I didn’t think we were going to have such a winning season’,” Cox says.

“We lost so many players from last year, learning a new this and a new that, but we did it,” the player says.

“We won zones, baby!”

Each player received an individual award for her efforts.

Looking to next season, the junior Saints will lose six players who move up to senior high.

“But both coaches are confident the remaining players will take their skills and experience from this year and apply it to build next year’s team,” Cox says.

Incidentally, it was 10 years ago – in 2013 – that St. Andrew’s previously won the zone championship.

St. Andrew’s finished second in the zone championships in 2018.

The High Prairie St. Andrew’s Saints won the 2023 North West School 2J Junior Girls’ Volleyball championship. In the front row, left-right, are Lexi Davies-Hunt, Brynn Billings and coach Jaime Amyotte. Back row left-right, are coach Leanne Cox, Carley Cox, Amanda Donahue, Rylea Cardinal, Kaydence Chalifoux, Casey Billings, Brynn Amyotte, Jemma Hesse and Sara Pruden

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