CORNER BROOK — The team looks a little different, but the goal remains the same.
The Corner Brook Regional High Titans girls volleyball team will be in Gander this weekend for the 4A Girls Volleyball Provincial Championship and they will be going for the elusive ‘three-peat.’
Unlike the versions of the Titans that won the last two years, this year’s team has its fair share of inexperience, with only six players returning from last year’s squad.
“It’s like any team you build, you have a core group of athletes and you surround that core with athletes you try and train for the future,” said coach Nathan Wareham. “Once your core moves on ... we had the same core for about three years, then you need a new core to try to build around.
“This is not a group of athletes that have been playing together for the last two or three years,” he added. “It’s different, but you try to work with it all and put it all together.”
It’s been and up and down season so far for the girls.
They won the Volleywest tournament here in the city and finished second in Volleyfest in St. John’s to a team from Sackville, N.S.
“We lost by two points in the third set,” said Wareham. “It was a matter of a ball hitting the net and not falling the right way.”
They also placed fifth in the Dalhousie Classic, but were upended in regionals by Stephenville High and were forced to apply for a wildcard position just to enter the 4As. Luckily, that was granted without any hassle, allowing the team to defend its championship.
“We’re still one of the top-ranked teams in the tournament,” Wareham said. “We’ve just had a lot of growing pains this year in terms of getting a new group of athletes to gel together and with the learning curve involved with that.
“We’re going to be ready to go this weekend to try and win a third banner,” he added. “Other teams around the island are training super hard now to beat us because we’ve been doing so good. Naturally you’re not going to win them all, but we’ve been working hard in the gym to prepare and that’s all we can do.”
The Titans find themselves in the B Division with Bishop’s College, Clarenville High, Ascension Collegiate and Mount Pearl Senior High. The A Division consists of Stephenville High, Gonzaga High, Exploits Valley High, Prince of Wales Collegiate and the host Gander Collegiate.
Wareham points to Stephenville, Clarenville and Exploits as perhaps the three biggest threats to the 4A crown.
“When you get into a provincial tournament, no matter what happens all year, everything changes because there’s a little more pressure,” he said. “If we play our game and we show up to play, we should go deep into this tournament.”
Tournament play begins Friday, with the Titans opening against Ascension Collegiate.