By Cal Braid
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Vauxhall Queens clinched a spot in the high-school volleyball provincials, and head north this week in search of a crown. The zone tournament was in Claresholm this past weekend, and the Queens played in five matches.
“We won the three in our round-robin,” said Scott Reiling, vice-principal and volleyball coach at Vauxhall HS. “We beat Fort McLeod, J.T. Foster, and Kate Andrews, so we finished first in our pool. Then we played the hosts, Willow Creek, in the semi-finals. It was a really good match, a close match between them. Then we beat Immanuel Christian in the finals.” The victories secured their spot in the provincials, coming up this weekend in Whitecourt.
“It was a good tournament,” Reiling said. “I don’t know if we played our best, but we seemed to keep playing well enough that we could pull out those tight games. The girls are really excited. It’s not easy to win those banners.”
He said that the school places a high value on their volleyball program. “We’ve had a very rich tradition for a lot of years here. The girls work hard and they play a lot. They do all the little things that you need to in order to have a good program. They’re absolutely committed. We’re a small team this year, much smaller than we’re used to. We only have eight players, so we had to be careful with injuries and different things like that.”
The Queens aim high. Zones work based on how teams do throughout the season, and teams earn their ranking by that measure. The top eight teams qualify to play a tournament at their designated level. “We play 2A. We are a 1A School, but we moved up to 2A. We moved up and played some of the bigger schools. We played well all year. We won tournaments leading up to (this one) and had a very successful season. We’ve meddled in 2A for a lot of years; I think the last time we didn’t go to 2A provincials was 2008. We typically finish in the top four every year, and the girls just felt like, ‘let’s go there again,’” Reiling said matter-of-factly.
“They’re kids that have a great knowledge of volleyball, and they show up to every practice and work so hard. They hang out with each other all day too, so they’re not just teammates, they’re best friends. I’ve been coaching for twenty-some years, and this team is a really fun team to be around.”