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Springbank volleyball teams fall to Cochrane for RVSA championship

The Cochrane Cobras enjoyed volleyball supremacy in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) this year by winning the 2018 senior boys’ and girls’ championships Nov. 9.
RVSA Champs
Cochrane Cobras players go up for a block Nov. 9 against the Springbank Phoenix. The Cobras defeated the Phoenix in four sets to win the Rocky View Sports Association senior boys’ volleyball championship.

The Cochrane Cobras enjoyed volleyball supremacy in the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) this year by winning the 2018 senior boys’ and girls’ championships Nov. 9.  In back-to-back gold-medal matches at Cochrane High School, the Cobras teams came out on top against the Springbank Phoenix.  In the girls’ match, the Cobras swept the Phoenix in three sets for the second time this season (25-14, 25-12, 25-16). By securing the victory in three sets, the Cobras maintained its remarkable record of sweeping all eight of its RVSA matches this year.  “They’re a strong team with a lot of strong players,” said Jensen Austin, a Grade-12 middle for Springbank. “Their passing was there and they have strong servers, and we kind of lacked on that, tonight.” Springbank coach Al Coulter said he felt his players came out softer in the championship match than they did when the teams met Oct. 29, during the regular season. Cochrane was the only team in the RVSA to defeat the Phoenix this season. “We seemed a little more intimidated [tonight], which is strange, because the more you play a team, the easier it gets to play them,” Coulter said. Cochrane’s powerful serving in the first set forced the Phoenix to start making mistakes, he added, and the Cobras capitalized.  “A good team does that – just keep putting it back and letting you make mistakes,” he said. “We made the mistakes. That’s what we have to clean up.” The loss of starter Alexis McMaster – who, according to Coulter, had exited the quarter-final match Nov. 5 with a broken arm – did not help matters for the Phoenix. “She’s out for the rest of the season, so we’re going to have to learn to work with it,” Coulter said. After two defeats this year, the Phoenix had one more chance against the Cobras Nov. 16 and 17 (after press time) at South Central Zones. “They’re in our pool for Zones, so that will be interesting, to face them,” Jensen said.  The boys’ gold-medal match took place immediately afterwards. While it wasn’t as one-sided as the girls’ final, the result was the same – Cochrane defeated Springbank in four sets (23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-18) for the championship.  Just like when the two teams faced each other during the regular season, Springbank started the match with high energy and won the first set, 25-23. The second set was close as well, with Springbank leading 24-23 – just one point away from taking a 2-0 lead. Jack Cochran was on fire for the Phoenix, serving fiercely and hitting ferocious cross-court spikes from the right side of the net. But, spurred on by star outside hitter Riley Kimmel, Cochrane rallied back to win the second set 26-24.  “[Cochrane] was looking frustrated in that second set,” said Daniel Kleer, head coach for the Phoenix. “We had them on the ropes, but just couldn’t finish it.” Kleer said his players lost some steam after dropping the second frame in such a close fashion.  “If we had won that second set, this is a totally different match,” he said. “[Cochrane] just started to get some momentum going, and we couldn’t stop them.” The Cobras took the momentum into the third and fourth frames and coasted to easy 25-16 and 25-18 victories.  Springbank Grade-11 setter and right-side hitter Jeff Sinclair said the Phoenix suffered a mental lapse in the final two sets.  “We got into a place where we couldn’t pass,” he said. “With no passing, we couldn’t run a solid offence, and against a team like [Cochrane], that’s what you need. “A team like that isn’t going to roll over after we win once, so our team just needed to stay intense through the third and fourth sets, and that could have been a different game.” The Phoenix continued its 2018 season Nov. 16 and 17 at South Central Zones. 

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