Sports

Cloverdale takes silver at national volleyball championships

Cloverdale
Cloverdale's Rain City Rebels Volleyball Team.
— image credit: Contributed

Cloverdale's Rain City Rebels returned from Edmonton with a shining silver medal in the U18 girls division at the Canadian National Volleyball Championships.

The team finished with eight wins and one loss, against Winnipeg's Vision Elite Volleyball Club in the final.

The tournament drew 32 teams from across Canada. Rain City went three and 0 to win their pool Friday, defeating Alberta's Edson Rain 2-0 (25-20, 25-5), Potential from NWT 2-0 (25-8, 25-15), and the Cochrane Jaguars (AB), 2-1 (25-18, 23-25, 15-11) in a tough battle.

The Rebels were up against other first and second-place teams on Saturday, defeating Fort St. John Ice 2-0 (25-9, 25-12) in their first match, and then the Junior Broncos of Red Deer, AB, in the second, also 2-0 (25-18, 25-21), and finally the Markham Stingers from Ontario – also undefeated. Rain City fell 25-20 in the first game, but won the second 25-18, and third 15-7 to take the set, putting them in the tier 1 playoff position.

Sunday, the team faced KVA the Pack from Kamloops in a sudden-death quarter final. After leading game one most of the way, the Rebels lost 21-25. In game two, the team was one point away from elimination numerous times, but fought back to win 28-26, thanks to hits by Sarah Van der Ende and Jackie Penev's strong serve.

The teams were tied 11-11 in game three, but Cloverdale eventually got the edge, with Madison Ens serving well under pressure, taking the score to 14-11, and then a line shot by Taylore Duhamel put the game away 15-12. The win placed the team in the semi-final against DRVC from Whitby, ON.

Rain City got a big lead and held on for a 25-21 victory in the first game, with DVRC gaining a 23-13 lead in the second, making it look like there was going to be a third game. But strong serving by Sarah Crema brought the Rebels back to 23-18. Pressure serving by Penev and a great final tip by Van der Ende capped off an exciting comeback, with Rain City winning 26-24.

"The girls showed unbelievable heart and determination to come back from that far in game two," Rebels coach Gord Houchen said. "The

The Rebels faced Vision Elite VC in the finals. Both teams came with 8-0 records in the tournament. Vision Elite won game one 25-20. Game two, excellent team defense and strong settling by Connolly put the Rebels up 16-10, but momentum shifted and the Elite closed the gap to 17-20. Strong hitting by Manitoba pushed the Elite to 25-22, a hard-fought, 2-0 victory.

"The girls played with a lot of heart all season and continued to improve every time out," he said. "Taking silver at nationals was awesome and I am very proud of our team."

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