After placing fifth in Waterloo Region, the Elmira District Secondary School junior girls’ volleyball team headed off to the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) championship this week.
Coach Adam Derma had nothing but praise for how the team progressed over the season.
“As a team they’ve come together,” Derma said. “In the beginning it’s tough, especially in junior, Grades 9 and 10 are young. Some of them don’t know each other. There was a real divide between the 9s and 10s in the beginning, but since then they’ve all come full team together. And there is no 9s and 10s anymore, it’s just a junior volleyball team.”
He adds they’ve learned to pick each other up on the floor, which is a difficult skill to coach. They finished the regular season with nine wins, and five losses, just two points behind fourth-place Huron Heights Secondary School.
Both the coaches and the girls were full of energy in anticipation of the next day’s events at practice on Wednesday.
“It’s the first time, me and Coach Shantz making CWOSSA as teachers here,” Derma said. “So we’re pretty excited about that. The girls are really excited. They know they have a good chance, they have a good team, and it just extends the volleyball season, so it makes it more enjoyable to play for a championship tournament. It’s also just another good reason to be together and have a good time, one last hurrah.”
He said they’re the underdogs going into CWOSSA. There are three teams from WCSSAA that get to go into CWOSSA and they’re the third seed of the three.
“We were really young last year and we have a lot of the same team returning, nine Grade 9s last year have moved up to 10, so there’s a lot of experience that way,” Derma said. “It’s nice to see that we’ve made that jump from last year, a little bit of mental instability, but this year we got stronger and tougher.”
Last year they had a qualifier game to get into CWOSSA which they lost, so they finished fourth in the region.
Derma’s optimistic about how they’ll do this time around. This is the first time they’ve had their original six starters all playing together, since before Christmas due to injuries.
“I always think we’ll do well,” Derma said. “I have to always think we’ll do well. If we play to our potential we’re going to do very well. The sky’s the limit. We expect big things.”