MIDDLETON - Volleyball fans can expect some high calibre action Dec. 1 and 2 when the Middleton Regional High School girls host the Division 2 volleyball Provincials.
That prediction comes from Middleton Monarchs coach Trevor Connell who’s seen the teams and knows their capabilities.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s a very good level of volleyball,” said Connell. “Just because it’s Division 2 does not mean it’s not fun to watch. The teams are very competitive. Most of the teams that are playing this weekend travel to all the Division 1 tournaments throughout the season and play at the Division 1 level. Just when it comes to playoffs their schools are designated Division 2 and that’s where they end up playing at. They’re all very talented across the province.”
The Provincials schedule just came out Tuesday, with play starting at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1 as Strait Area Education Centre meets Par en Bas and West Kings plays South Colchester. At 3:30 p.m. Clare meets Digby and Middleton plays Millwood. Opening ceremonies will be around 5 p.m. and play Saturday starts at 9 a.m.
Par en Bas and Digby advanced after a weekend tournament to make up the eight-team Provincials line-up. Before that, Connell talked about Provincials based on the six that were already on the schedule.
“There’s some very strong teams,” said Connell. “There’s more than one contender coming that could easily win this weekend. All six that are advancing definitely are very strong. I know of teams that are going to the qualifier that are very strong teams as well. There’s going to be a number that could win this this weekend. It’s probably one of the deepest groups of teams that I’ve seen in 28 years of coaching.”
“It was an awesome year,” said coach Trevor Connell of his Middleton Monarchs. “It’s a great group of kids coming back from last year. They’ve had some really positive results in tournaments and they’ve had some other situations where they had to work harder.”
And working hard is what you have to do.
“It’s probably the toughest region in the province for the number of teams of this competitive level,” he said. “There’s strong teams from all over, but not as many, that’s for sure.”
He said the strong competition at home just makes the girls better.
He said the Monarchs are a talented bunch right from Grade 10 through Grade 12.
“Some would think we’re rebuilding just because we have some younger players that have some pretty big roles on the team,” he said. “We use a lot of kids every game because they’re capable of taking a part of it. It’s a full team effort when we’re playing, that’s for sure. We’ve got some talent right to the end of the bench. There’s nobody there that’s a project player. They all come with a piece to contribute to the games.”
Connell said Middleton entered a bid to host provincials.
“Your record from years past is considered as part of the hosting package to show that you’re competitive,” he said. “From our region we have so many teams that there are three that go directly to Provincials, so the top three teams would automatically advance anyway out of Regionals.”
“We qualified that way, but prior to that we were awarded the hosting bid based on our record the last eight or nine years, I believe, that they’ve finished with a medal – whether it be gold, silver, bronze – at Provincials.”
Plus they were the defending Regional champions last year and won bronze at Provincials.
Connell said the public can drop by and watch the games. They won’t be disappointed.