Cobequid girls lay claim to first Division 2 crown
TRURO - There would be no repeat provincial titles for the Cobequid Cougars on the weekend.
Neither the Cougars boys or girls managed to defend their Division 1 high school volleyball crowns. The boys finished fourth while hosting the event in Truro while the girls brought home bronze from Coxheath in Cape Breton.
Cobequid wasn't shut out of the gold. The Cougars Division 2 squad made history by nailing down the school's first provincial title at that level in what was their first ever appearance in the final with a 2-0 (25-12, 25-20) victory over the West Kings Wolverines.
"It means a lot," Cougars power and captain Rachel VanGestel said. "Going into the final we wanted to make history and I guess we did it."
Cobequid's Division 2 team is made up of Grade 10 and 11 players and serves as a development squad for the Division 1 group. The Division 2 team played in most Division 1 tournaments Cobequid's top team entered this season.
The team finished fourth last year.
"There were five returning girls on the team this year so it was really nice to get the gold for them," VanGestel said.
The Cougars stormed through the round robin and won their pool with a 3-0 record with victories over West Kings (25-8, 25-16), host Riverview Royals (25-11, 25-12) and the Northeast Kings Titans (25-13, 25-10).
The Cougars then turned aside the Middleton Monarchs (24-26, 25-14, 15-13) in the semifinal.
"We just played as a team," VanGestel, a 16-year-old Lower Onslow resident, said. "Everyone just picked each other up and made sure we were all where we were supposed to be and that's what pushed us to where we got."
Bronze was not the medal the Cougars Division 1 squad wanted but captain Ally Fanning said she and her teammates will gladly take it. The Cougars defeated the Sackville Kingfishers (25-19, 25-15) for third spot.
"It's a little disappointing but it's good we were able to take our focus away from the loss and were able to actually medal," the senior setter said.
Although competition had been tight all season, the Cougars were one of the favourites going into the event, which was also hosted by Riverview. Cobequid's never-say-die attitude pushed them to titles in six of the nine tournaments it entered this season.
But the Cougars were upset in their semifinal match with the Lockview Dragons (22-25, 25-16, 15-9), sending them to the bronze-medal match instead of the final.
The Cougars were perfect in the round-robin and won their pool with wins over the Sackville Kingfishers (25-20, 25-17), the host Royals (25-10, 25-15) and the Citadel Phoenix (25-20, 25-23).
Fanning said it just wasn't her team's day.
"I think the momentum just went Lockview's way," she said of the semifinal. "We tried really hard and we were down quite a bit at times and managed to battle back."
Fanning said the Cougars have nothing to hang their heads about.
"Not at all," she said. "I'm really happy with how our season went. There's a lot of teams that don't have that kind of success."
Bridgewater went on to defeat Lockview (25-13, 25-17) in the final.
The boys dropped their bronze-medal match 25-14, 25-22 to West Kings - a team they beat 25-22, 25-20 to open the tournament - after falling 25-23, 20-25, 15-10 to the Horton Griffins in the semifinal.
Captain Riley Tanner said he felt his team had its will broken in the loss to Horton, a team they were seeking revenge against from a loss at a tournament in P.E.I. earlier this season.
"It just brought all of our spirits down because it was such a crushing loss," Tanner said. "We just didn't have enough energy, or passion or will to go out and win the bronze."
It was a bit of a fall from grace for the Cougars, who started the event on a 3-0 run after wins over Citadel (25-17, 21-25, 21-19) and the Park View Panthers (25-23, 25-15) following their opener against West Kings.
Tanner said his team had its sights set on repeating a provincial champions.
"But sometimes things happen that are out of your control," he said.
Ecole Secondaire du Somet defeated Horton 25-20, 25-21 in the final.
Ecole Acadienne de Truro finished fourth in the Division 3 boys tournament at South Colchester Academy while the host Wolves placed fifth.
Ecole Acadienne, which was at the event on the back of its first regional title in the school's history, dropped the bronze-medal match 28-26, 22-25, 8-15 to Middleton after going 2-1 in the round robin and falling 20-25, 25-16, 6-15 to Ecole NDA in the semifinal.
The Wolves were 1-2 in the preliminary round and defeated Clare 25-17, 17-25, 15-6 in their placement match.
In Division 3 girls play, Ecole Acadienne de truro took gold with a 20-25, 25-16, 15-11 victory over SAERC in the final.
Ecole Acadienne defeated Clare 25-17, 25-12 in the semifinal after a 3-0 round-robin run.
The South Colchester Wolves placed eighth after falling 25-17, 25-19 in the seventh-place match. The Wolves were winless in the preliminary round.
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