Whitehorse’s Subzero 17U girls volleyball team earned some hardware at the Over the Top U17 Women’s Tournament on Jan. 19 hosted by the Tri Area Warriors Volleyball Club at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Spruce Grove, Alta.
The team won bronze, defeating a team from FOG Volleyball Club in the third-place game 2-1.
Head coach Gary Seeley said the strong finish in the standings was a bonus.
“Our goal was (to take) each game at a time,” said Seeley. “But once we got down there and found out we were doing pretty well, then we changed our goal and bronze was exactly where we ended up.”
The team was 2-1 after three round-robin matches, with their only loss coming to the FOG 17W Hawks team.
That record set up a rematch against the Hawks that Subzero lost in straight sets.
In the bronze medal game against another FOG team, the teams split the first two games, meaning a deciding third set was needed to find a winner.
Subzero won the final set 15-9 — not bad for a team put together last month.
Tryouts for the team were in December, with the roster only finalized in the middle of December, so it is still very early in the season.
“With this age group, we wanted to get out early and get an early experience and let them see some competition,” said Seeley about the early trip Outside. “They answered very well to everything that they’d seen on the weekend.”
The team, comprised of players primarily from Whitehorse high schools, most of the players were competing against each other in the fall.
“They were all rivals from September to November,” said Seeley. “Now, this is some of the best of those teams forming a club team.”
With just four practices together before the tournament, Seeley said the way the team played and adapted was impressive.
“Coming from Yukon and not getting a lot of touches, and then going down into an Alberta tournament, just the speed of the game and how we adjusted so quickly,” said Seeley about what he took away from the tournament.
He said the team’s setters adjusted quickly and that 185-cm-tall middle Emma Boyd was a difference-maker in blocking and offensively.
“We were one of the only teams walking around with a six-foot-one middle,” said Seeley. “We sped up our offence to match what we were seeing on the weekend.”
Getting experience against real competition early was something Seeley keyed in on for the season.
“Our vision was this year at the U17 level — my vision, anyway — was to get the kids out and get them playing,” said Seeley, adding the team will be playing a local women’s team and likely the U15 boys team before continuing with competitive play.
The team is set to travel to Anchorage, Alaska, for a tournament on March 2, before returning home for the Yukon Championships on April 6 and later travelling to the B.C. Provincial Championships on April 19th.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com