Cobequid girls settle for bronze to lead Colchester teams at provincials
TRURO - You can't win 'em all.
It was a lesson the Cobequid Cougars learned the hard way Saturday. After winning 11 of the past 14 NSSAF Division 1 girls' volleyball titles, missing the final just once over that span, the Cougars were forced to settle for bronze this year at Citadel high in Halifax.
"It definitely wasn't what we wanted," said senior power Hannah Mawhinney, who co-captained the squad this season with Samantha Fanning and Cassie O'Neil. "It's disappointing we couldn't pull it out and it's disappointing it's all over."
The Cougars lost the chance to contend for their fourth consecutive crown in a 25-18, 25-18 semifinal setback to the Citadel Phoenix, which lost the final to the Riverview Royals 25-21, 24-26, 15-13.
However, Mawhinney was happy with how her squad recovered to collect its 15th consecutive medal in a 25-18, 25-18 victory over the rival Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals.
"It was nice we found a way to come back in our last game together and play hard and win the bronze," she said.
The drive to win their final game was the rally cry for Cobequid, joined by the desire to beat the Royals, who had Cobequid's number all season, holding a 5-1 edge.
"We were so close all year so we knew we could do it," Mawhinney said. "So it was good to close things out that way."
The pressure of wanting to continue the school's winning tradition may have been too much for some players to stay focused in the semifinal.
"I think nerves go the best of us," Mawhinney said. "They were a team we beat consistently this year and nobody predicted they would be in the final, but credit to them, they played a strong game."
Cobequid opened the weekend with wins over Yarmouth (25-9, 25-10) and C.P. Allen (25-27, 25-18, 15-4), before falling to Gillis 26-26, 25-23.
The Cougars graduate nine players this season in Mawhinney, Fanning, O'Neil, Shakara Paris, Heather Mills, Sara Matheson, Melissa Atkinson and Brittany George.
The host Cougars missed a bronze medal with a 25-22, 17-25, 15-7 loss to the West Kings Wolverines at CEC gymnasium.
Cobequid was pushed into playing for third after falling 25-18, 25-15 to the Horton Griffins in the semifinal.
"From what I heard Horton played their best against us in the semi," said Cougars coach Harvey MacEachern. "We ran into a hot Horton team at the wrong time and it didn't work out for us in the semifinal."
Te Sackville Kingfishers secured their fifth consecutive banner in a 25-7, 29-27 win over Horton in the final.
Cobequid opened the event with a 25-21, 25-16 win over Park View before beating Halifax West 25-13, 25-20 and West Kings 25-11, 16-25, 15-9.
The Cougars lose just three players - Lincoln Watson, Kyle Kaiser and Ben Fraser - to graduation.
Neither Colchester County squad was able to nab a podium spot at the NSSAF Division 2 girls' volleyball championship at Brookfield's South Colchester Academy.
The Cougars junior varsity squad dropped the bronze medal match 25-17, 25-17 to the West Kings Wolverines while the South Colchester Wolves finished last in the eight-team field in what was coach Teri Theriault's final game following five seasons at SCA.
Cobequid #2 was forced into the bronze-medal match after a 25-21, 22-25, 15-8 loss to Par-en-Bas. The Cougars finished the round robin with a 25-23, 17-25, 15-8 loss to the eventual champion Bridgewater squad and opened with a 20-25, 25-11, 15-13 win over Riverview #2 before downing Sackville #2 25-13, 25-17.
South Colchester dropped the seventh-place match to Sackville #2 25-17, 25-17 21-19 after going winless. The hosts fell 25-10, 25-15 to Middleton, 25-21, 25-18 to Par-en-Bas and 25-19, 25-15 to West Kings.
The South Colchester boys squad also finished at the bottom of their event at Horton following a 26-24, 22-25, 15-12 loss Eastern Shore in the fifth-place match.
The Wolves dropped matches to champion Par-en-Bas (25-13, 25-14), Horton (25-20, 26-24) and Yarmouth (25-12, 25-13).