DW-Co-op Challenge w pics
Elecs win Co-op Challenge in convincing fashion
1) The Elecs senior boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams gather for a group picture after sweeping the Co-op Challenge against Weyburn. Photo courtesy of Neal Linthicum
2) Kaitie Waldegger (6) tips the ball while Jenna Knibbs (3), Cammy Henry (1) and Karina Hjorteland (4) look on. Photo by Sabrina Kraft of the Weyburn Review
By David Willberg
The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs are the champions of the Co-op Challenge volleyball showdown with the Weyburn Comprehensive School Eagles for the first time since 2018.
The Elecs won both matches in Weyburn on Oct. 12, and all four matches during this year’s series. The senior girls won 3-0 (25-16, 25-20 and 25-22) on Oct. 12 and the boys won 3-1 (25-11, 19-25, 25-20 and 25-21).
Estevan won the first two matches on Oct. 5, with the boys winning 3-2 and the girls 3-1. The wins on Oct. 5 gave Estevan a 6-3 lead in sets, which determines the Co-op Challenge winner. When the girls won 3-0 on Oct. 12, it gave Estevan a 9-3 edge in sets and it wrapped up the series for Estevan before the senior boys took to the court.
The Elecs won 12-4 in sets and 364-283 in total points.
Tamara Franklin, who is the coach of the senior girls, said she was “in tears” after they won. She noted that when Estevan last won four years, they needed the total points tiebreaker. This year they won the challenge outright.
“It’s a wonderful feeling. You could be speechless. I think I was when the last point was earned … the girls were winning, the assistant coaches were cheering and I was thinking … we finally did it,” said Franklin.
The girls were nervous for the first set of the Oct. 5 match against Weyburn, Franklin said, since they have a lot of new players and only two Grade 12s, but once they settled in, ECS dominated.
“We have a really powerful middle by the name of Kaitie Waldegger who really helped us out that Wednesday night. She was just on fire,” said Franklin.
Waldegger is one of the Grade 12s on the team, and Franklin said the other, Kennedy Young, played great on Oct. 12.
The Elecs practised receiving serves as much as possible prior to the series, so they could successfully advance the ball to the setter.
Neal Linthicum, who is a coach with the senior boys, was pleased they were able to win this year after dropping both sides of the series in 2021.
“It’s, for the most part, the same group of guys, and they [Weyburn] have virtually the same team for the most part, too,” said Linthicum. “We’re gelling a little more this year and working and playing more as a team. The skills are getting better.”
The senior boys’ blocking has improved a lot and they’re more consistent with their hitting from the outside and the middle. Serving was more consistent in both games against Weyburn.
“Volleyball is a game where you could beat yourself. Especially on serving. Somebody’s getting a point [on each play] either way,” said Linthicum.
A large crowd filled the gymnasiums in both Estevan and Weyburn to watch the games, and both coaches praised the atmosphere.
“Every event we have of this, the schools are packed, the cheerleaders are out, and it’s a big event for these kids,” said Linthicum.
He was thrilled that the Elecs senior girls stuck around after their game in Weyburn to cheer the boys on. After the senior boys won, everyone flooded the court to celebrate.
Franklin said the crowd was loud for all of the matches.
“It’s just students trying to promote their school spirit. I have to admit, they’re quite loud, they’re quite boisterous, but that can be part of the game. Then at Weyburn, they’re still a loud crowd, but Weyburn wanted to lessen the amount of cheering against another team. You should only be cheering for your team. Which I agree with.”
Both teams have had busy seasons. The senior girls competed at tournaments at the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. Franklin was particularly impressed with how they played against the the defending provincial champions, Saskatoon Holy Cross.
“The coach was even calling our club teams, asking ‘Hey, you have great girls in that area,’” said Franklin.
They also had a strong showing at the Weyburn tournament and finished second in Yorkton.
The senior boys won a tournament in Weyburn this year and finished second in the B pool of a tournament in Swift Current. They also competed in Brandon during the Thanksgiving long weekend.
They will have a tournament in Moose Jaw before regionals.