The roster was completely different, but the result was exactly the same for the Mennonite Brethren junior varsity girls’ volleyball team this season.
The Hawks once again became provincial champions, defeating St. Mary’s 25-18, 25-14 in the final on Nov. 17.
The school only uses Grade 10 students at the JV level, so none of the victorious Hawks were part of last season’s team.
"We’ve got a good run going on right now," said coach Dave Tjart. "Good players is really what it boils down to. They’re dedicated and they work hard."
The Hawks lost only once all season, in a tournament against Miles Macdonell. The Buckeyes gave them their biggest scare in the provincials, taking them to three sets in the semifinal.
"That one was pretty close," said Janelle Neyron of East St. Paul, one of the tournament all-stars. "There were some calls we felt weren’t fair, but we stuck it out. I was a little nervous, but I knew it would all turn out in the end."
Neyron said the team was clear in its goal from the start of the season: a championship was the expectation.
"We knew if we kept practising hard and everyone came together at the end we’d be OK," she said. "We were pretty good at the start of the year, and everything improved."
Maiya Westwood, another all-star from East St. Paul, said there was a sense of relief to capture the championship banner. She said the team had been waiting all season for its chance to defend the school’s provincial title.
"I’m glad to have it done," she said. "We only played St. Mary’s once all year. We watched them get a lot of better, and we didn’t know what the game was going to be like."
The MBCI junior varsity boys lost in the quarter-finals to the eventual champions from Miles Mac. Meanwhile, both of the school’s varsity teams are ranked No. 1 and preparing for semifinal appearances this week. One theory of why the school is so successful is the coaching.
"We’re really lucky with the coaches we have," Westwood said. "They put in a lot of time, and they’re really good to us. The quality of drills we do is huge, it’s amazing how specific they are."
MBCI’s Katie Reeves was named the tournament MVP, while Brianna Patrick and Megan Todoruk of St. Mary’s, Karly Smith of Selkirk and Haille Bujan of Miles Mac rounded out the all-star team.
Miles Mac defeated Steinbach 25-20, 26-24 in the boys’ final. Aaron Stephens of Miles Mac was the tournament MVP, while teammates Sean Purdy and Andrew Hector made the all-star team.
They were joined by Brendan Phillips of St. Paul’s, Austin Kozun of Lord Selkirk, and Bronson Teetaert and Jacob Lowen of Steinbach.