Perfect in province

Dave Kearsey
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The 46-0 Presentation Panthers will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the Canadian East Open

CORNER BROOK  George and Jennifer Dolomount have seen some pretty good teams come and go under their tutelage, but the husband-wife coaching duo believe this year’s editon of the Presentation Panthers is a group of special athletes.

The Dolomounts guided the Presentation Panthers Grade 9 female volleyball team to a perfect 46-0 season in Newfoundland and Labrador en route to earning a berth in the Canadian East Open Volleyball Championships May 3-5 in Sherbrooke, Que.

The perfect season on the island culminated last weekend in Clarenville with the feisty Panthers going undefeated in claiming gold at the provincial Grade 9 volleyball championship.

“They are a special group,” coach George Dolomount said earlier this week. “They are a great team in every sense of that word, they communicate very well and they are very supportive of each other on and off the court.”

Dolomount is proud of his players for the unblemished record and is quick to point out there is a thing or two that separates his team from other successful teams he has coached in the past, as well as powerhouse teams coached by others in the volleyball circle.

“They have an incredible work ethic. The harder the practices are, the better they like it,” Dolomount responded when asked to discuss how this team stands out for him.

He also believes the girls really enjoy being on the hardcourt and have a thirst for competiton.

“I think the big difference between them and other teams I’ve had is that they have an unbelievable desire to compete and they have a desire to win,” he said.

Myla Burt, who is co-captain of the team with Courtney Simmonds, is proud of the record because she isn’t aware of any other team going undefeated all year and credits the close bond between the players as a key to the team’s success.

“We all work together as a team really well,” Burt, 14, said of the girls she spends a lot of time with on a weekly basis during the season. “On and off the court we’re really close and that really helps a lot with the team because not every team is like that. So it’s easy to bond and get along well and if you have a team that gets along well on the floor it’s really easy to play well.”

Burt is happy the girls were able to keep winning tournaments despite being hit with challenges along the way.

She said it was by no means a walk in the park and the team always seemed to find a way to overcome adversity.

“We were in some pretty close games, but we really put our hearts into it and focused on the game and pulled through,” she said. “We all have tasks on the team and worked really well together to make it happen.”

Simmonds is happy the team was able to have a successful season, but what will stand out for her years down the road are the memories of how much fun the girls had together and how much passion they had for the game.

It’s that fun environment that Simmonds feels made it all possible for the girls to focus on being a solid team with everybody watching each other’s back in good and bad times.

“I’d say that has the biggest role in it ... how well we get along and how much fun we have with it,” she said, noting all hands working hard at practice also helps.

Coach Dolomount said his charges may have had a perfect season in the province, but what he wants people to realize most is that there were four or five formidable opponents for the Panthers this year so it wasn’t by no means a walk in the park.

Some of the teams the Panthers beat were bolstered by players who suit up for provincial volleyball teams so the quality of the opponent was high in a lot of the tournaments, in particular a strong team from Holy Trinity who the Panthers beat in the gold-medal showdown at both the provincial Grade 9 championship tournament and Volleyfest in St. John’s.

He also noted that the Panthers had trailed opponents by as many as a dozen points during the ride, only to regroup and rally to victory.

“They just got that desire to battle back and they battled back and won against some good teams,” he said.

The Panthers will now focus  energy on tangling with 32 of the best Under-15 female teams in the east, with many of them hailing from Quebec and Ontario, but it won’t an easy ride by any stretch of the imagination and coach Dolomount is aware of this reality.

The Panthers, a school-based team, will be competing against club teams in Sherbrooke and some of those teams will have had the luxury of picking their rosters out of hundreds of interested athletes from a mixture of teams.

“This is more like a reward for how hard they worked all year,”  coach Dolomount said. “Sure, we still want to do well, but we’re going there for the experience and just play one point at a time and enjoy the tournament.”

 

The Unbeaten Path

The following is a look at how the Presentation Panthers fared on the hardcourt en route to a 46-0 record heading into the Canadian East Open Volleyball Championships in Sherbrooke, Que. May 3-5:

Feb. 2 — Provincial Under-15 in Clarenville

—    Gold medal

—    7-0 round-robin record

—    Beat Holy Trinity 25-13, 25-14 in final

—    Beat Exploits Valley Intermediate 25-15, 25-22 in semifinal

 

Jan. 28 — Presentation Invitational

—    Gold medal

—    6-0 round-robin record

—    Beat Presentation 2 25-12, 25-14, in final

—    Beat Pasadena Academy 25-10, 25-13

 

Nov. 17— West Regional NLVA Championships in Corner Brook

—    Gold Medal

—    6-0 round-robin record

—    Beat Exploits Valley Intermediate Team 1 25-15, 25-22 in final

—    Beat Exploits Valley Intermediate Team 2 25-3, 25-10

 

Nov. 2 — Volleycentral in Grand Falls-Windsor

—    Gold Medal

—    7-0 round-robin record

—    Beat McDonald Drive Junior High 25-21, 25-17 in final

—    Beat Exploits Valley Intermediate 25-7, 25-18 in semifinal

 

Oct. 27 — Volleyfest in St. John’s

—    Gold Medal

—    7-0 round-robin record

—    Beat Holy Trinity of St. John’s 25-9. 25-14 in final

—    Beat Exploits Valley Intermediate 25-21, 25-15 in semifinal

 

Oct. 13 — Volleywest in Corner Brook

—    Gold Medal

—    6-0 round-robin record

—    Beat Pasadena Academy 25-17, 23-25, 15-7 in final (this was the only match of the year that went three sets)

—    Beat Exploits Valley Intermediate 25-21, 25-15 in semifinal

 

Oct. 6 — Dalhousie Classic in Halifax

—    Gold Medal

—    6-0 round-robin record

—    Beat Queen Charlotte of Charlottetown, P.E.I. 25-23, 25, 14 in final

—    Beat Bridgewater, N.S. 25-21, 25-17 in semifinal

 

SHINING MOMENTS

Dalhousie Classic in Halifax

—    Myla Burt Tournament MVP

—    Faith Yates all-star team selection

—    Marie Smith all-star team selection

Provincial Grade 9 volleyball championships in Clarenville

—    Myla Burt Most Spirited Player

Organizations: Presentation Panthers, Canadian East Open, Pasadena Academy

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland and Labrador, Clarenville Sherbrooke Holy Trinity Quebec Ontario Halifax Sherbrooke, Que Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Barb -
    February 09, 2013 - 14:05

    Congrats girls..........unvbelievable accomplishment. I'm pretty sure the paper didn't say they were the only team going in Easterns.....just that they were going. These girls went to Nationals last year and went 4 - 4 only losing a berth in the finals against an Ontario team that went the 3rd set 15 - 13. This was pretty impressive as well seeing they are competiting against Club teams. Pres girls and Rowe girls will have a great time at Easterns and the experience for all of them will be fantastic. Congrats again girls, you should be very proud of how hard you've worked and the fantastic job you all did

  • John Jones
    February 09, 2013 - 08:50

    I thought there was a team at Rowe like 5 or 6 years ago did the same except winning the grade 9 prov as well in grade 8 going undefeated!!!

    • Julie
      February 09, 2013 - 11:01

      Pres 9 are not the only team going to the nationals from Newfoundland and Labrador. GC Rowe grade 9 girls are also going to represent our province. I hope all teams do well.