TRURO, N.S. – A well-balanced and deep roster is paving the way to success for the Cobequid Cougars high school girls’ volleyball team.
The Cougars are on a serious roll this season and have smashed their way to six tournament titles to firmly stake their claim as the top team in the province.
“When you look at our stats, there’s a lot of different players that can do it and are doing it,” said Cougars coach Bob Piers. “We’ve had several tournaments where we’ve had several of our key players not able to play and it seems like somebody else picks up the slack and away you go. And to have that kind of depth is really important.”
The Cougars rhymed off five straight tournament victories to start the season before losing in the final of the Saint Mary’s Invitational to the Citadel Phoenix. Like all good teams, however, the Cougars bounced back and won their sixth tournament last weekend in Antigonish.
“Every time we step on the court we’ve got a bull’s-eye on our back,” said Piers. “Everybody wants to beat CEC; that’s the way it is so you’ve got to be ready every time.”
The Cougars possess an intangible, says Piers, that can’t be overstated – resilience. It’s a quality they displayed at the Dalhousie Invitational during semifinal and final matches in early October. In the semifinal, CEC trailed Lockview 10-14 in the third and deciding set, but rallied to win 17-15. In the final, the Cougars dropped the first set 9-25 to Citadel, but stormed back to take the next two to claim another title.
“I’ve had teams in the past, they packed their bags and they were on their way out the door at that point in time, and we turned around and we won the match,” Piers said of the match against Citadel.
The Cougars have been the class of high school volleyball in the province for many years. The team, under the guidance of Piers, has won 12 NSSAF Division 1 girls’ titles and has been provincial finalists an astonishing 19 times in the past 24 years.
CEC, however, hasn’t won a Nova Scotia title since 2012. Piers said this year’s group of players has a great chance to bring another provincial banner to the Truro high school.
“There’s no reason why they cant,” he said, noting three-time reigning champion Citadel may be the team that stands in their way. “It’s not a real shoe-in; we’re not that much better than them and they’re not that much better than us, so it could go either way.
“But having said that, you never know because this is such a game of momentum and if somebody gets a lead and somebody isn’t playing well at a certain time, it may end up there’s two other teams in the provincial final and we’re sitting there watching it. It shouldn’t be that way, but you just never know.”
The Cougars will compete at the Sydney Smash tournament this weekend and will wrap up invitational action next weekend at West Kings.
The Capital region will host the provincial tournament Dec. 1-2.