The Cochrane Cobras Senior Varsity Girls Volleyball are provincial bronze medallists after a gritty, no-quit performance in Strathmore this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The team came in seventh ranked among all teams, but battled hard though to win their pool and then beat Magrath in quarter final play, said Coach Esther Seiben.
“By beating McGrath, who was in the power pool (as one of the top teams in the province), it shot us into the top four,” she said. “Then we're top four in the province, and it was a real eye opener about what a gritty, hard-working, mentally strong team can do.”
After a tough semi-final loss to Holy Rosary Raiders of Lloydminster, who went on to fight it out with Saint Peter the Apostle out of Spruce Grove in the gold medal round, Seiben said the Cochrane girls showed resilience in their bronze medal match up against St. Joseph Composite High out of Grand Prairie. After losing the first game, Seiben said the team made much needed adjustments to pull out a win in the second game.
“The second game we made a few adjustments and served different targets, and just had a different mindset about the game and we ended up winning the second game,” she said.
Seiben said that’s when her girls showed their true grit. Down by a devastating margin of 14-9 in the decisive game three, the veteran girls on the team made a decision and the coaches stepped back, Seiben said, knowing it was all on the players’ shoulders.
“One of our seniors went back to serve the ball, and she just said, ‘I'm not missing this ball.’ “They said, ‘we're gonna play hard. We're gonna play some great defense.’ And next thing we know, it's 14-14, and she had served five in a row and we had dug five balls.”
The team would finish up their fantastic comeback to win their final game 16-14, and take home the bronze for Cochrane.
“I can honestly say after all these years of my coaching experience, this has probably been the grittiest of our (Senior Girls) teams,” said Seiben.
Seiben credited her girls for triumphing despite the adversity they faced during the year with injuries, and up and down play. It’s nice to win gold, but sometimes a bronze can be worth even more if hard-earned.
Seiben wanted to thank the community for all its support this year.
“Cochrane High School and the Cochrane Cobras are nothing without our community,” she said. “I can't say enough to all the fans and the volunteers and the refs and the parents, and our Rocky View School division.These kids are seeing what they are capable of because of it.”
Seiben said Cochrane High is becoming increasingly known as a place which makes champions, not only in volleyball but in various sports.
“We're making a name for ourselves,” she stated. “We are a sporty bunch and I think parents are starting to understand, you know, what it takes to be the top in the province. I think with these kids, the more appearances they make at these provincial championships, the more that they have that growth mindset– thinking, yes, we can.”