Western Canadian Independent Schools Volleyball Championships 2017
By: Paulina H. '18
Bright and early on Wednesday, October 18, the Senior Varsity Women’s Volleyball Team traveled to Winnipeg, Manitoba for the annual Western Canadian Independent Schools Volleyball Championships. This annual tournament was started by Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School 45 years ago. Celebrating our relationships with other independent schools across Western Canada, WCIS is more than just a volleyball tournament. Every year at the tournament, we compete against seven other schools that are similar us including Rundle College (from Calgary, AB), St. Michaels University School (Victoria, BC), Stratford Hall (from Vancouver, BC), Notre Dame (Wilcox, SK), York House School (Vancouver, BC), Crofton House School (Vancouver, BC) and St. John’s Ravenscourt School (Winnipeg, MB). Playing against the same teams each year, we see many familiar faces. It’s truly special being able to gain life-long relationships with girls who are just like us, and who we may even catch up with again at university.
This year, we were hosted by St. John’s Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg. This beautiful school was our home for the next four busy days of volleyball! Beginning on Wednesday afternoon, we played our first game of the tournament against Notre Dame. Our two-set win to our first game was a great start to the tournament! Throughout the weekend, we played 21 tough sets of volleyball. All of the games were very close and a really good fight. One of the highlights of the tournament was playing Crofton House. The first time we played them, we fell flat and we didn’t give our best shot at all. Earning our way to playoffs, they were our first game in the playoffs and our opportunity for a rematch. Although we lost this match and lost our opportunity to be a championship contender, we left everything on the court and gave our best fight. We ended up finishing 6th place in the tournament. Although this isn’t the ideal finish, we all had a blast and we are very happy with how well we played and the effort we put into every single ball we touched.
While we did not have much downtime between games, we were still able to sightsee in Winnipeg and interact with the other athletes! We went to a cute marketplace called the Forks where we ate lunch, then walked to the amazing Canadian Museum for Human Rights where we spent a couple hours. On Thursday night, we had an activity night organized by the SJR Athletics Prefect. All the athletes were divided into four teams and we had to complete challenges, including a massive game of musical chairs which was such a blast!
Although we brought home a 6th place finish, we were recognized in other notable ways. We were nominated by a team for the Spirit Award, awarding a team from the tournament who shows sportsmanship and a positive outlook throughout the whole tournament. At our banquet on Friday night, Halla K. ’19 was awarded the Best Defensive Player of the tournament which is a huge accomplishment. As well, Halla was honourably mentioned for the Best Server award as well. Personally, I was grateful to be awarded our team’s Most Valuable Player and as a result, named to the group of tournament All-Stars.
Last year we had the privilege to host the tournament at STS which was an amazing experience seeing how our school community came together to support the team and provide billet homes for the athletes! Billeting is arguably the most fun part of the tournament other than playing! We get to meet a new family and spent time with one or a couple of our teammates for three nights. A highlight for me this year was having multiple girls from other teams come up to me recognizing that we hosted last year and asking how their STS billet families were doing. It’s amazing the impact this tournament has on everyone who experiences it!
Although it was my last year competing in WCIS, it has left such an impact on me and my volleyball career. I am honored to be part of such an amazing volleyball program at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, especially as a captain along with my teammate Tess M. ’18. Our amazing coach Ms. Weber put so much time and work into organizing our trip and making sure we had a great experience, especially for the Grade 11s since it was their first time! Although we are sad that we will not have another WCIS tournament again, the Grade 12s are looking forward to the rest of our last season of volleyball, including our Foothills Composite tournament this upcoming weekend!