May 23, 2015

Latest News

The little school that could

Neelin pulls off a shocker, beating MBCI for girls' title

The small school won the big prize at the 2012 Boston Pizza AAAA Provincial High School Volleyball Championship on Monday night at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre.

The Neelin Spartans varsity girls volleyball team won the first-ever AAAA provincial title for the Brandon school, defeating the Mennonite Brethren Hawks 18-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20 before a packed house.

boris minkevich / winnipeg free press
The Neelin Spartans jump for joy after upsetting the Mennonite Bretheren Collegiate Institute to win the girls' AAAA high school title Monday night.


boris minkevich / winnipeg free press The Neelin Spartans jump for joy after upsetting the Mennonite Bretheren Collegiate Institute to win the girls' AAAA high school title Monday night. Photo Store

The Spartans, usually a AAA school based on population, found a way to make the unusual usual in the championship match as setter Amy Gordon was also her team's top attacker in the final with seven kills and five service aces. She was named the tournament's most valuable player.

"This is just the best thing that has ever happened to our team. Coming in as a three-A school, no one really expected us to win or even put up a fight," said Gordon, one of 10 players in Grade 11 on the team. The core group of Grade 11 players won a AAA junior varsity provincial championship when they were in Grade 9. There were three Grade 10 players on the team and no Grade 12s.

"We all knew what we had to do and we came and we did it."

What the Spartans did was stay calm after losing the first set, regroup and then blast their way back into the match in the second set.

"We were a bit worried (after the first-set loss), but we knew we had to put that game behind us and focus on the next games," said Neelin right-side Tara van den Ham. "It means a lot to our team and our school to win this. We fought really hard and we had great coaches to get us here."

In the pivotal third set, Gordon had back-to-back service aces to give the Spartans a five-point lead. But the Hawks, led by kills from left-side Kalena Schulz, battled back to within one point three times late in the set. Neelin's middle attack, anchored by Alison Quiring, could not be blocked or stopped and the Spartans went into the fourth set with plenty of momentum.

"All we could do today was come out with the best we had and have fun, and that's what we did," said MBCI captain Laura Klassen. "Neelin played great and that was a great match for us."

Neelin head coach Kevin Neufeld, in his third season with the Spartans team, moved his team to the AAAA level this season based on the talent level on the team.

"It just means a lot to our kids to have an opportunity to play at that level, and to be the No. 1 team in the province is a reward for their hard work," said Neufeld. "We set a goal to get in the top four here a couple of years ago when this group came together. We've got 250 practices as a group over the last two-and-a-half years and they've worked really hard."

In addition to Schulz's leading 15 kills for MBCI, Shayna Staerk had 11 kills. Players of the match were Staerk for MBCI and Neelin's Paige Thomson and the tournament's Players' Choice Award winner was Emily McPherson from the St. Mary's Flames.

Named to the tournament all-star team were: Laura McManes of the Glenlawn Lions, Brianna Solberg of the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes, Neelin's Kristine Ward and Alison Quiring and MBCI's Kalena Schulz and Katie Friesen.

Provincial Championships

Last Saturday



Boys: Gabrielle-Roy (Iles des Chenes)

Girls: Linden Christian Wings



Boys: Niverville Panthers

Girls: Major Pratt Trojans



Boys: Rosenort Red Hawks

Girls: Nellie McClung Stingers (Manitou)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 D1

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 23 11:54 am

Transit director Dave Wardrop will hold a 1:15pm news conference to discuss the deal with ATU. #wpgpoli #wpgcouncil

Dan Lett | @danlett

May 23 11:48 am

Saturday column: Where is next the Orange Wave? - via @WinnipegNews #cdnpoli

Aldo Santin | @aldosantin

May 23 11:33 am

Winnipeg Transit director Dave Wardrop holding 1:15 pm newser to discuss new deal w/ATU 1505, 421 Osborne #wpgpoli #wpgcouncil

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 23 11:28 am

Andretti family brushes off so-called curse at Indianapolis

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 23 10:56 am

City, transit union reach tentative agreement, bus delays and cancellations to end

Scroll down to load more