Coach Oates impressed with consistency on the hardcourt as Titans win crown

Dave Kearsey
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The Corner Brook Regional High Titans won gold with a 26-24, 25-19 sweep of Holy Trinity High School at the provincial 4A female vollleyball championship held recently in Manuels. Team members include, from left (front) Myla Burt, Paulina Martinez, Triina Voitk and Ashley Bromley; (back) coach Mellissa Oates, Robyn Pike, Acadia Hulan, Ashley Companion, Jessica Pelley, Alysha Pelley, Carly Tanner and Leah Forward. Missing from photo is Faith Yates. — Submitted photo

CORNER BROOK  Coach Mellissa Oates says the Corner Brook Titans struggled with consistency all year long, but in the end the girls put it all together when it counted most.

The Corner Brook Regional High Titans posted a perfect record to claim gold at the provincial 4A female volleyball championship in Manuels. It was the fifth 4A female crown for the Titans in the past seven years, but coach Oates knows the team had to work hard to position themselves as a strong contender for the crown.

Oates said consistency proved to be a big challenge for the girls in the first eight weeks of the season. She watched her girls play well at Volleywest only to have them crumble under the pressure against a tough opponent in the final and history repeated itself at Volleyfest in St. John’s when the roller-coaster continued with a meltdown against Holy Spirit High in the semifinal round.

When Oates returned from the east coast trek, she realized the Titans had a lot of work to do and only four weeks to get them prepared for the run.

“The biggest battle for us was controling errors,” she said of the journey to fix things.

She said the team dug deep to address error control in all aspects of the game for the stretch drive to the provincial championship, but also took time to address flaws in defence because she was seeing little effort from the girls going for the ball.

“Pretty much dominated by game-style drills that were forcing kids to make better decisions with the ball,” she said of the training period leading up to the golden performance.

Perhaps, one of the biggest things she made a point to do was change the team’s blocking strategy for two teams that had beaten the Titans in the past.

“When we made those changes it was just unbelievable the turnaround,” she said. “The commitment to defence, commitment to proper decision-making ... that just turned around to an absolutley brilliant performance at 4As.

“They made better decisions with the ball, the tenacity on defence was unbelievable and that all resulted in less errors.”

Ashley Bromley admitted the team had its ups and downs along the way, but she was proud of the effort the girls gave to win the title to cap off a great year.

“All the girls played excellent,” Bromley said. “At other tournaments we played good, but we just gave up after a while, but all the girls played really hard throughout the tournament.”

She said the mood was pretty festive when the championship banner was presented to the girls.

“We were really excited. It was like it didn’t even happen. It didn’t feel real,” she said.

Triina Voitk never got much floor time playing on a team featuring some talented third-year starters, but she was impressed with how the girls dug deep to put the pieces together.

“I think we really stepped up our game because we were like the underdogs,” Voitk said of the Titans rise to the top. “We came out and tried our best and we won.”

Perfect ride to the top

The following is a look at how the Corner Brook Regional High Titans 4A female volleyball team won its fifth championship in seven years as a result of a perfect record at the 2013 provincial championship held recently in Manuels:

Gold-medal final:

Titans vs Holy Trinity High (26-24, 25-19)

Semifinal

Titans vs Mount Pearl Senior High (25-22, 25-19)

Quarter-final

Titans vs Exploits Valley High (25-19, 25-15)

Round-robin

Titans vs Holy Spirit High (25-20, 25-11)

Titans vs Gander Collegiate (25-17, 25-14)

Geographic location: Manuels, CORNER BROOK

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