Owls capture Dal tournament

Jason Simmonds
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SUMMERSIDE -- The Summerside Intermediate School Owls captured a major midget girls' volleyball tournament recently.
The Owls emerged gold-medal winners at the Dalhousie Pepsi Challenge in Halifax, N.S.

The Summerside Intermediate School Owls recently captured the Dalhousie Pepsi Challenge midget girls' volleyball tournament in Halifax, N.S. Team members are, front row, from left: Kennedy Clark, Grace Stavert and Shelby MacNaught. Back row: Shellilee Bal

SUMMERSIDE -- The Summerside Intermediate School Owls captured a major midget girls' volleyball tournament recently.
The Owls emerged gold-medal winners at the Dalhousie Pepsi Challenge in Halifax, N.S.
"It's a tough one (tournament) to win and a big one to win," said Owls head coach Shellilee Ballum. "We haven't won it since 2002."
The Owls beat GC Rowe from Corner Brook, N.L., 2-0 (25-14, 25-15) in the championship match.
The Owls went 1-1 (won-lost) to finish pool play in second place. They then beat Mount Uniacke from East Hants, N.S., 2-0 (25-14, 25-14) in the quarter-finals, before prevailing in a thrilling three-game semifinal against the Queen Charlotte Crusaders, who went on to win the bronze medal.
"The semifinal was the hardest battle," said Ballum. "We met Queen Charlotte, which is always a tight match and back and forth."
Queen Charlotte won a marathon first set 29-27, but the Owls regrouped to tie the match with a 25-17 win and take the deciding set 15-11.
"I didn't know if the girls would come back," said Ballum. "But they came back that second game and won it, and then the third game they had a great start and didn't look back."
Power-hitter Becky Clark, one of six Grade 9s on the Owls, was named the tournament most valuable player. Middle Hannah Steele, also a Grade 9 player, was named to the all-star team.
The other Grade 9s are setters Michaela Walker and Emma Kennedy, power-hitter Kennedy Clark and libero Bethany Smith.
Ballum credited a total team effort for the win.
"The setters played well, all the hitters hit and it wasn't just one player who was hitting," said Ballum. "The girls played really smart.
"If the ball was off the net or close to the net, they didn't try to pound it into the net, they tried different shots. It wasn't just a big hit -- it was a roll shot, a tip or a down ball.
"They communicated really well and communication was one of the things we wanted to work on. On defence, we touched a lot of balls that we normally wouldn't get to."
It was the third tournament medal this year for the Owls, who won gold at their own tournament and bronze at the M.E. Callaghan Classic.
"They're just a bunch of really good kids and are easy to work with," concluded Ballum.

jpsports@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Summerside Intermediate School Owls, Dalhousie Pepsi Challenge

Geographic location: Halifax, Corner Brook, Mount Uniacke East Hants

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