TRURO, N.S. – The Cobequid Cougars finished second at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division 1 girls’ volleyball championship over the weekend.
As expected, the Cougars faced the Citadel Phoenix in the final and had another exciting three-set match against their Halifax rivals.
The Cougars won the first set 25-20 with a balanced attack and strong serving from Maddie MacGregor and Maddie Greatorex. The strong serving of the CEC girls, who missed only one serve in the entire match, kept Citadel off balance for most of the first set and made it difficult for the Phoenix to run their offence.
In the second set, it looked like it might be more of the same as the Cougars led 17-14 and the strong serving of Abby Bernard had the Citadel serve receivers in trouble.
However, the outstanding setting of Libby Falkenham and the strong outside hitting of Canada Games teammate Vienna Harwood allowed the Phoenix to turn that around and take control of the set as the Halifax squad went on a run to win 25-19.
The Phoenix were able to carry that momentum into the third set and led 8-2 when the teams changed ends. The Cougars fought back to get within three points at 8-11, but Citadel was not to be denied, closing out the final set 15-9 to win their fourth consecutive Division 1 title.
On Friday evening, the CEC girls finished first in their round-robin pool with straight-set wins over Parkview (25-15, 25-14), Lockview (25-21, 25-7), and the eventual bronze medal team from C.P. Allen (25-16, 25-8).
On Saturday morning, the Cougars defeated Sir John A. Macdonald in a semifinal 25-7, 25-15 to advance to the gold-medal match.
This is the fourth consecutive year and the 19th time in the last 24 years that the Cougars have been in the Division 1 provincial finals.
The CEC girls had an outstanding season, finishing with a 58-2 record. They won eight tournaments and were finalists in the other two tournaments in which they competed. They also won the Northumberland regional championships for the seventh consecutive year.
Leading the Cougars attack at provincials was Shayla Gloade with 27 kills followed by MacGregor with 20 kills, and Robbi Gordon with 18. Nicole Rector led the team in attack percentage with 43.3 per cent, while McGregor had 38.1 per cent and Gordon had 32.6 per cent. The Cougars served tough all weekend. Rector had 10 aces, 37 successful serves, and only two serving errors for a 3.59 serving average. Gordon had nine aces, 41 successful serves, and no serving errors for a 3.54 serving average. Rebecca Worden had nine aces and 38 successful serves for a 3.17 average, while Greatorex had six aces and no serving errors for a 3.58 serving average. Hannah Crouse was the top serve-receiver with 25 perfect passes and a 2.35 serve receive average followed by Greatorex with 12 perfect passes and a 2.40 serve-receive average.
Crouse also led the team on defence with 24 spike digs while Greatorex had eight spike digs and nine tip digs. Gordon had five spike digs and six tip digs while Worden had three spike digs and eight tip digs. Worden had an outstanding weekend as the Cougars setter. She not only ran a balanced attack, but her constant mix of sets kept opponents guessing all weekend and allowed the CEC hitters often to swing against single blocks. Worden also was a perfect 5-for-5 on dump attacks.
CEC will graduate eight players from this year's team but with five players returning and a strong group of players ready to move up from the Team 2 Cougars, next year's team should once again be strong contenders for the Division 1 title.