By Michael Adey
Special to The Gulf News
The Grandy’s River Collegiate senior girls volleyball team ended its season on a high note by capturing their first-ever Team Sportsmanship banner in volleyball at the 2017 SSNL 2A Provincials held in Glenwood.
The season started Oct 16-17 with Grandy’s travelling to Corner Brook to complete in the NLVA’s annual VolleyWest tournament.
Grandy’s started off a little slow, losing their first two matches on opening day and dropping to Tier 2 play.
They rebounded with stronger play on day two, reaching the semi- final but ultimately losing in straight sets to Cloud River.
On Nov. 3-4 Grandy’s travelled to Gander to complete in the NLVA’s annual VolleyCentral tournament.
This was the first time in Grandy’s history that the girls’ team competed in this tournament.
Serve reception was a major Achilles heel for the girls three weeks prior in VolleyWest, and became the focus for practices afterwards.
Everyone knew if they could improve in this category, they would be a much more competitive team.
The extra focus paid off and the girls were able to win three matches in a row, all in third-set play, which helped the team gain confidence.
Grandy’s finished the tournament with a record of 4-2, eventually being eliminated by Smallwood Academy in the Tier 2 semi-final.
On Nov. 25 Grandy’s hosted the 2A Western SSNL Varsity Volleyball Regional and competed against Belanger, E.A. Butler and Burgeo Academy.
Grandy’s swept the round-robin play, finishing with a record of 3-0 that put them in a final with Burgeo.
Burgeo Academy fought hard, but in the end Grandy’s won in straight sets with scores of 25-16 and 25-18, giving them an opportunity to represent their region in provincials.
On Dec. 7-8 Grandy’s travelled to Glenwood to compete in the SSNL 2A Girls Varsity Volleyball Provincials.
Grandy’s was placed in a strong division with Cloud River and Riverwood –
schools well known for their volleyball skills.
Grandy’s fought hard in both matches, playing better than they had all year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and the team lost both matches.
Spirits were still high because even though they lost their first two matches, the girls played extremely well against two powerhouse teams.
The girls kept their strong play going and were able to win their final match in straight sets over St. Michael’s of Bell Island.
On the last point of the match all five Level 3 players came together in the center of the court in a big group hug, each knowing this would be their last volleyball match of high school.
It was a wonderful moment, which goes far beyond the winning or losing side of sport.
With a record of 1-2, Grandy’s was unable to reach playoff competition but kept smiling and enjoying the moment knowing the team played well.
At the banquet (an event SSNL provincial tournaments promote), a member from each of the eight competing teams received an individual sportsmanship award, highlighting their character throughout the tournament.
Skye Seymour maintained a positive attitude and spirit throughout the entire year and received the award for Grandy’s.
After individual awards were handed out it was time for the team sportsmanship award, which highlights the positive spirit of sports and gamesmanship. SSNL considers this award to be of equal importance to the championship banner. The team from Grandy’s was ecstatic to receive the award for the first time in Grandy’s history.