Cobras leave it all on the court

By Rob Vogt – Local Press Writer
It was like a scene from a movie.
With her team trailing in their final match of the provincial volleyball championship tournament, injured setter Dakota Van Langen, entered the game.
Unable to play, and sporting a brace, she took her position in the front row, long enough to have become an official part of the game.
A few minutes later, the scene repeated itself as injured player Mya Auld entered the game and played a few serves.
These two acts symbolized what the Willow Creek Composite High School senior varsity girls’ volleyball team was all about more than any wins and losses.
“Both (Dakota) and Mya are athletes who put their hearts in what they’re doing,” said coach JoAnna Sutter.
For Van Langen, who will be graduating in the spring, it was the conclusion of her high school career.
“To be able to put her in was an honour,” Sutter said. “I feel deeply for her for not being able to finish her year.”
Sutter also commended the officials and the other team for that moment.
“Everyone was very supportive,” she said.
The Cobras hosted the Alberta Schools Athletic Association 2A Girls Volleyball Provincial Championship from Nov. 24 to 26.
They opened with a stirring victory Thursday night in the high school gym against the David Thompson High School Voyageurs of Condor.
The Cobras took the first set by a score of 25-21, dropped he second set 25-22, then rebounded for a 15-10 win in the third and deciding set for the victory.
They moved to the West Meadow Elementary School gym Friday morning, where they lost to the Calgary Christian Cougars in straight sets by scores of 25-12 and 25-22.
The Cobras were back in their home gym on Friday afternoon, against Strathcona-Tweedsmuir of Okotoks, who defeated the Cobras in straight sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-12.
Claresholm concluded the day’s action that night at West Meadow facing the John Maland High School Wildcats of Devon.
The Wildcats took the opening set by a score of 25-20, but Claresholm came to life in the second set, jumping out to a 14-3 lead and cruising to a 25-18 victory.
That set up a sudden-death third set which Devon won by a score of 15-6 to take the match 2-1.
The Cobras still had a chance at making the playoff round when they returned to their home court Saturday morning to take on the Peace River High School Nomads.
However, the Nomads won out in straight sets by scores of 25-13 and 25-17.
The result gave the Cobras fifth in the White Pool and just out of the playoffs.
Sutter said afterwards she could not have been happier with her team’s performance.
“I’m super proud them,” she said. “These girls, when they were on the court, they left it all on the court.
“They should go out with their heads held high.
“It was an honour to see them play in provincials.”
She admitted the team’s dynamics changed after the league final when injuries forced some players out of the line-up and others into unfamiliar positions.
Less experienced players were also pressed into action.
“My less experienced players for zones and provincials stepped up, did their job, and didn’t let it frazzle them,” Sutter said.
“They played hard,” she said of the entire team, noting they lost by just three points to the team that finished first in their pool. “They’re exhausted.”
“We didn’t give up,” she later added.
Sutter also commended the community, volunteers, and fans for all the support.
“I still say it was one of the most successful seasons,” she said. “I am extremely proud of their record for this season.”
The results in the zone and provincial tournaments do not define them.
“You define it by the moments that happened all season,” Sutter said.
“It goes down as one of the, if not the most successful seasons, here,” she stressed. “They put on a display for the fans.”