Big Country wins a silver surprise
Alberta Winter Games: Zone 2 turns things around to play in championship game
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 06:00 am
There’s a reason they call the playoffs the second-season – or better yet, a second chance.
The Big Country (Zone 2) girls volleyball team finished at the bottom of the standings after pool play but wound up taking home the silver medal at the Alberta Winter Games on Monday in Fort McMurray.
“I’m really happy — I was hoping to finish in the top half, I didn’t think we would actually be playing for the medal,” said Zone 2 middle Liana Greenshields, a Grade 10 student and member of the Foothills Composite senior girls volleyball team.
The Zone 2 squad consisted of four players from the Foothills area, Red Deer Lake’s Holly Carver and Okotoks’ Payton Hiebert, Claire Sweeney, and Greenshields.
Big Country lost in two straight to Zone 8 (Grande Prairie) in the gold medal match.
“We were really energized and we played well — they were a really, really talented team,” Greenshields said. “I had a few nice blocks, hits and digs. It was a really intense game.”
While spectacular in the playoffs, Big Country finished at 1-2 in pool play — last in its four-team division.
However, they stunned host Zone 7 — the no. 1 team in the other pool — in the quarterfinals.
“It was a really close game and we knew they were going to be a tough team but we had high hopes,” said Hiebert, a student at Okotoks Junior High School. “It took a lot of perseverance and believing in ourselves.”
They won the match in the maximum three games.
The result surprised a few people.
“We knew that we had to step up our game because they were no. 1,” said Sweeney, a Grade 10 student at Foothills Comp. “We didn’t know what to expect — it was probably a surprise for both us and them.”
They won the match when Big Country smashed home a lazy ball that came over the net.
Zone 2 then advanced to take on Zone 4— Red Deer and surrounding area in the semifinals. They disposed of Red Deer in three sets.
As one of the younger players on the team, the Red Deer Lake School Grade 8 student said it took her awhile to adjust.
“At first it was kind of hard but I felt I bonded with the girls and feel like we were a team,” Carver said. Zone 2 finished second in the standings with 69 medals. More Games stories will appear in next week’s Western Wheel.