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Niverville Junior Varsity Girls Win Provincials

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The JV Niverville Panthers, who won this year's Provincials. Graeme Buys

Niverville High School’s Junior Varsity Girls volleyball team has completed an undefeated season with a win at this year’s Provincials.

Coach Graeme Buys says that the season was an exciting one, full of close calls and ups and downs in the quality of play. The Niverville Panthers were ranked number two behind the first-ranked Westgate Wings throughout the season and eventually met for one last showdown at Provincials.

At one point in the first set of the finals, Niverville was down 9–2, but they rallied and won a close game. They lost the second set badly, however, bringing the fate of the season to rest on one final set.

The last set in volleyball normally only goes to 15 points. To win, a team has to be ahead by two points, which can result in extending the set.

At one point, Niverville was up 14–11. Buys says that they thought they had the game in the bag.

But the Wings rallied and the game became a nail-biter.

In the end, the Panthers defeated the Wings 17–15.

The JV team is made up of Grades Nine and Ten girls, but last year there was no competitive volleyball due to COVID-19. The result was that this year’s Grade Nine girls hadn’t played any volleyball since their Grade Seven year.

Buys says that despite this, they did an amazing job stepping into the team and meeting the standards needed to excel at the Junior Varsity level.

“I was so encouraged by the development throughout the season of those who didn’t get to play as often,” says Buys. “I felt so impressed with their hard work and improvement. And some became regular contributors on the court by the end of the season despite missing an entire year of play.”

Buys says that his team was led by three key players: Anika Buys, Eva Davis, and Isabelle Voth. All three young women are top players at this level.

Voth and Davis were both named tournament all-stars and Anika Buys was named Most Valuable Player.

Coach Buys says that all three of these titles were well deserved, but that any of the three could have been named MVP as their work was equally stellar.

He adds that Voth, the team’s only setter, was plagued by injuries and deserves extra credit for her hard work. She played with her arm and hand taped up, taking ibuprofen to get through the games.

Buys stresses how proud he is of all the girls.

“Volleyball is not an individual sport,” he says. “So without the contributions by all the team members, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

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