They were the little team that won big.
They are the North Oyster school girls volleyball team, and last Thursday, they finished their undefeated season in first place at the bantam girls small school volleyball playoff.
“The girls were really committed, they had a good sense of team, and they all just started coming together,” said coach Anna Shupe.
The championships, held Jan. 26 at Chase River school against Frank Ney elementary, ended with scores of 25-17 and 25-18.
“Their serves and their communication and helping each other won the game,” Shupe said. “They were determined enough to get it.”
The North Oyster girls volleyball team is comprised of eight students in Grades 6 and 7 and one Grade 5 student.
Their volleyball season starts in November and leads to a single knockout tournament near the end of the season, and this year, there were 12 teams in the league.
Games are usually played six-on-six; however, with only eight members on the team, Shupe often had to play five players.
“Some of the time, I had a few girls on vacation or ill and I would play with five players,” Shupe said. “We would show up and some of these teams would have like 30 girls, and then there was my six girls; it was so cute. But they stuck together; it was so sweet.”
Shupe said the skills learned during elementary school sports give students a solid foundation in sportsmanship and communication. She added that the team members have bonded on a personal level.
“When they get to Grade 8 and they can make a choice, they’ll feel comfortable trying out for a sports team because they’ll have those basics,” she said. “The skills will come with development.”
Shupe, a former North Oyster student, said it was a wonderful experience coaching the team to their first championship in her last year as a coach at the school.
“It’s nice to see a bit of the underdog … being able to go all the way with players that wanted to do it,” she said. “They weren’t competitive about it, they were okay with whatever happened, but they just seemed to click. The girls really worked hard.”