Eagles Boys Volleyball—Team History
The following information is not comprehensive or intended as a complete overview of each year's play, but is a historically correct interpretation of certain key moments/accomplishments as recalled by Donalda School contributors. Opposing coaches/players may view some events differently. This being a Donalda website, however, it's been decided to tell things as they really happened.
Any/all players, parents, or spectators remembering specifics of the Donalda Eagles Boys Volleyball Team history, and consider this information worthy of inclusion, are encouraged to submit said items to the school, and they may be posted.
Donalda School had a number of C. W. J. H. A. A. winning boys' teams under the coaching of Neil Pinder. Don Seale took over coaching duties in 1990.
Grade 9 - Bob Christians, Cory Paul, Kieth Van Haga, Ryan Damberger, Jody Holtz, and Cal Nixon.
The finals of SCOPE pitted Donalda against Waverly, a powerful team with Dale Snodgrass as coach. Dale had one particularly good hitter, who had proven the difference between us in previous matches.
All year long, Brad Knudtson had practiced hard, but struggled with coordination and ball handling. He enjoyed the game and sought ways to contribute, and was became a blocker coming off the bench in key situations. Brad worked hard at developing his blocking skills, but often would touch the net. It would be different at SCOPE. Shortly into the first game with Waverly, it became obvious Donalda could not win unless something was done about the Waverly hitter. Brad was called on to stop him. While only on the court for half the game, Brad managed two good blocks against that hitter. After the second, the boy began criticizing his setter and teammates. He stopped trying to hit, and Donalda managed the win.
We lost Scott Cressman - a tremendous player and possibly the best grade 8 hitter to come out of Donalda School - when his family moved to Gadsby the previous year. Scott's addition turned an already powerful team, with Steve McKnight coaching, into a juggernaut. Scott would crush a spike at his former teammates, and then sincerely apologize to them across the net.
That year, Donalda met Gadsby in the semi-finals of C. A. R. A. Donalda had a small team with two grade 7 starters. Still, it managed to win the first game of the match. It was tremendous action, and Jeremy and Daryl were outstanding. After the match, Mrs. Olsen, who had never seen a game of volleyball, approached the team and asked, "Is it always that exciting?"
The team had only one Grade 9 player—Chad Montgomery. Chad was a small player and the team looked tiny on the court. It was beat up on regularly. This began, however, a building process that culminated in some fine future teams. Chad committed himself to serving the team, so it could be ready for the next year. Reversed after this year was the decade-long trend of having more girls than boys in junior high.
Donalda won C. A. R. A. this year with a tremendous victory over Erskine in the semi-finals. The team lost the first game, and Luke was having trouble setting in the second. So, a second Grade 7 setter, Shawn Sutton, was put in in his stead. Donalda won that game and forced a third. Luke went back in and at the half (when we changed sides) the score was 8-3 for Erskine. Donalda turned it up, and won 15-13. This was the year that setters (Luke Erickson—grade 8; and Robert Bergstrom—grade 7) began running a back-quick attack. It proved to be difficult to defend. No other junior high team run one until 2006.
Donalda went to C. W. A. J. H. A. A. and placed third (2nd year in a row), losing to Stettler in the semi-finals, the same team it had beaten in the finals at C. A. R. A. the week before. The loss was because one team member chose hockey over volleyball that weekend.
Donalda lost tremendous matches to Brownfield in both the Hit 'n Run finals, and the C. W. A. J. H. A. A. semi-finals. At C. A. R. A., Donalda placed 2nd, losing to a very strong Wm. E. Hay team coached by Dale Snodgrass. This was the same team we'd battled back and forth with the year before (Stettler).
Donalda placed 3rd at C. W. A. J. H. A. A. for the third year in a row.
Donalda went to the finals this year, losing to Lindsay Thurber out of Red Deer (460 students in grade 9) two close games straight. On route, the team overcame first game loses to Red Deer Lake (Calgary), and Lacombe Christian to win the best of three. Robert and Shawn set out of the back row, but ran the center when in the front. They fed off of one another, setting quicks with busting attacks.
Donalda Hit 'n Run
Donalda won by beating Wm. E. Hay two straight in the final (25-12; 25-16).
Wetaskiwin "Turkey Burn Off" — 10/2002
Donalda met Rosalind in the semi-finals. They were a great team with an excellent coach, Brad Monroe.
The final match was against a Sherwood Park team—Madonna Catholic. The players felt this team to be a cocky, over-confident group. Before the finals, one of its players walked by the team, stopped, stared, and boldly declared, "We are Kings" (the name of their team), and then walked off. Another player would shout cat-calls while our boys were serving. Madonna also had an excellent center hitter, who was getting the better of us. Levi Erickson switched in to block him for the third game, putting three up at the front. Our well-timed blocking proved to be enough.
It was a monster match, pitting two hard-hitting teams, both of whom refused to roll over. Donalda had to play at the top of its game and as a team to pull this one out, but persistent attacks proved too much, and we won the match two games to one (27-25, 20-25, and 15-13).
C. A. R. A.
We swept this tournament.
C. W. A. J. H. A. A.
Erskine found a way into this tournament, despite losing to Big Valley at C. A. R. A. The tournament was in Lacombe. Donalda met Erskine in the finals and won in two straight. The big match was against Lacombe Christian, who took Donalda to a third game (15-12).
This team would rival last year's team, but would not have been able to beat it. It had a great season just the same.
Colten Trathen injured his knee at noon of the tournament day (last hit of practice). Donalda had to make a last-minute adjustment, putting Jayden Erickson (grade 7) in the tech position and going from a 6-2 system to a 5-1. The team came together during the rounds and excelled in the playoffs, defeating Erskine in the semis two straight. The finals were against Prairie. Donalda won two straight. This is only the second time a Clearview team has won this tournament—Wm. E. Hay won it in the early '90s.
Hit 'n Run
This tournament was where a good number of the boys were sick. Donalda still manage to make a win in the finals against Theresetta.
Donalda swept this tournament, defeating all that Red Deer had to offer (Lindsay Thurber, Red Deer Christian, Lacombe, etc.).
C. A. R. A.
Donalda was blasted in the finals of this tournament by Erskine. It was humbling (25-13, 25-14).
C. W. A. J. H. A. A.
Following C. A. R. A., the boys met and decided to prepare the best they could for C. W. A. J. H. A. A., which was in Rocky. They practiced after every school day of the next two weeks, running for 15 minutes and exercising for another 15 at the end. Three goals were set for the tournament: (1) to be a unified team, (2) to win the battle of the net (changed the ordering of lines, placing Dan in the power, Colten in the middle, and Corey in tech). The objective was to block their key hitters, and the team succeeded in this. Erskine significantly reduced its hitting after a few good blocks; and, (3) to take it to them (hitting), and this Donalda did.
The first game began as predicted, with a slow start for Donalda (down 13-5 at one point), but the game plan had been to build momentum and hold to the themes. One could see a difference as the game continued, and by the 2/3 mark, The real team had finally shown up. Still, it lost the first game 25-17.
Game 2 was a heart attack from beginning to end—too intense. The two teams went up a single point at a time, with Donalda having the early edge and holding a lead of 24-21 at one point. Erskine came back to tie. Donalda won by a score of 32-30.
In the rubber game, Donalda got off to a rather slow start, and fell behind by as many as four points at one time. Still, the team never doubted, and pulled Erskine in one point at a time, tying the score at 14. From there it went back and forth again with Erskine getting one game point, and Donalda getting the next. Donalda won by the score of 18-16. Tribute should go to Warren Aspenes, Erskine's Coach, for putting together such a strong team.
This is a repeat victory for Donalda at C. W. A. J. H. A. A.
Grade 9 - Jarret Gebhardt
Grade 8 - Tobias Banziger, Jayden Erickson, Clinton Mueller, James Hutchison, Martin Banziger, and Jesse Awe.
This was a building year. Donalda did poorly at Tom Bast, winning 1 out of 12 matches. The team was comprised of grade 8 students with one 9. Still, it made it to the C. W. A. J H. A. A. finals, losing to Coronation in two games. The big win was against a tall Alix team with boisterous cheerleaders. Donalda stuck to its game plan, and slowly built until pulling away and winning in two straight.
Grade 9 - Tobias Banziger, Jayden Erickson, Clinton Mueller, James Hutchison, Martin Banziger, and Jesse Awe.
Donalda competed hard, losing to Lindsay Thurber (tournament winner) in the semis. The team had strong attacks, but poor serves, bumping and conditioning let it down.
The team lost in the finals to Red Deer Lake in three, when Tobias injured his thumb and Martin. Still, hitting proved to be a strength. Donalda had lost to a team that had beaten Thurber two weeks in a row in tournament finals.
C. A. R. A.
Donalda lost the tournament in the semis when Jayden Erickson went down with a forefinger injury half way through a match with Coronation. The team had won the first game 25 - 12, but lost the next two with a grade 7 substitute setter. Fortunately, we placed third defeating Stettler in three, and qualified for C. W. A. J. H. A. A. This was a year when Clearview hosted. Another good thing for Donalda was that it had two weeks between the two tournaments, and Jayden needed the full time to recover.
C. W. A. J. H. A. A.
Although Jayden's finger began to recover two or three days ahead of the tournament, he had to miss the Thursday and Friday due to a stomach flu. He showed up at Waverly gym the morning of the tournament looking like a white-faced mime. Donalda had a fairly easy first match, and that gave Jayden time to start feeling better.
The next match was against Spruce View, and Donada won the first game handily (25-12). Coach put out the juniors and lost the second 26-24. Spruce View had momentum early in the final, and led 8-3 at the change of ends. The whole team, especially Martin Banziger, stepped up. He served seven points straight, one of which was capped with a tremendous quick by Clinton Mueller. That hit turned the final tide. Donalda took 12 of 15 points following the change in ends, winning 15-11. The team never looked back, defeating Coronation (last game in the Rounds) and Theresetta (Semis) two games straight. The team really took it to these teams, especially Theresetta in the second game, 25-10. Donalda's hitting was simply too much.
The Finals was against Clive, which had a fairly good spiker and had beaten Theresetta in the Rounds. Until then we had played all games in the Waverly gym. The floor and lighting conditions in Wm. E. Hay were poor, and James Hutchison could not get his footing to spike. Tobias stepped up, and hammered everything sent his way, as did Clinton. Donalda won two straight (26-24, 25-14).
Donalda came into this year not expecting much, other than three years of building. It became more and more of a pleasant surprise as the year wore on. At times the team stunk up the gym, but there were other times when it stood up well to the opposition.
Hit 'n Run
Donalda split with Bashaw to start the day, and didn't really recover enough to get first in our pool, which was the goal. As a result, the team was forced to face off with its number 1 opposition for the year, Coronation, in the semis instead of the finals. Donalda took them to a third game, but lost it badly. The team then defeated Bashaw in the Third Place game.
C. A. R. A.
Donalda got third, losing to Stettler two straight games—a disappointing loss for the players.
C. W. A. J. H. A. A.
Donalda played the best it has all year long, losing to Coronation in the finals. It very easily could have gone the other way, but Coronation was too big with mostly grade 9s. Donalda was much smaller and had a grade 7 starter, who played extremely well. Still, the team feels very satisfied about its year, but it's hard not to think of what might have been.
Donalda won C. W. A. J. H. A. A. this year. It came as a bit of a surprise considering the team had only two grade 9 players to start the year—Blair Mueller (who had a broken foot for the first month) and Travis Hutchison. A short distance into the season, Tyler Halseth joined the team. He had not played previously, and needed coaching, but measured up well. In addition, Donalda had two excellent grade 8 players, and a grade 7 player who played over his head.
Donalda won C. A. R. A. with a win in the finals over Theresetta, but the great victory came in the semis against a powerful Coronation team. The team was overpowered in the first game 25 - 6, but dug in and played consistently well. With the help of some loud girls cheerleading, it won the next two games.
Donalda expected to meet that strong Coronation team again at C. W. A. J. H. A. A., but it lost in the semis to Penhold. Donalda lost only one game in this tourney, and it came in the finals. The team prevailed with a 15-8 victory in the third game.
A favorite game for many in this tournament happened in the second game of the quarter finals against Theresetta. Donalda had won the first one handily, and seemed to relax a bit too much in the second. The team was behind by the score of 18-7 when the boys started to pull it together, winning by 25-20. The favorite moment happened when four Donalda players dove for a particular ball, which Blair managed to pancake up. The team won the point - the players were pin-point focused in the latter part of that game.
This is the fourth year in the last six that Donalda has brought home the C. W. A. J. H. A. A. banner. The other two were losses in the finals to Coronation.
The team was a bit light this year (Randal Sideritsch and Austin MacKay moved away over the summer), having only one grade 9 player.
C. A. R. A. was a great experience. Donalda lost in the finals to Coronation, a team with eight grade 9 players, and most considerably larger than Donalda's players. John Thorne, principal of Donada School, said that this year's team was perhaps the best the school's ever had, if you compare on a relative basis.
The year started a bit slower than hoped, despite the fact that Donalda made it to the Quarterfinals of the Red Deer Classic (lost to St. Francis). The team seemed to bog whenever against a quality team. This was evident in Red Deer, and again the next week against Rosalind (Tom Bast winner).
Hit 'n' Run
Things began to change in this tourney. Donalda walked through the early rounds, but Coronation made a charge in the finals. Donalda won the first game 25-7, but got behind early in the second, and seemed to be bogging again. Nikolas Lee changed the momentum while trailing 17-11. He ran off 10 straight serves, and was supported by strong defensive play. Coronation was only able to deal with about 40% of his serves, and when they managed an attack, Donalda either met it with a block, or made a good first ball and successfully hit back at them. The team pulled away strongThis was a much-needed victory.
C. A. R. A.
Donalda won this tourney with a finals victory over Coronation. The team played extremely well, and was not challenged.
C. W. A. J. H. A. A.
Donalda won this tournament with a straight sets victory over Brownfield. The real challenge, however, came from a strong Spruce View team in the semis. Donalda lost the first game, but rallied strong to win the next two. The third was particularly heart-stopping (17-15). Donalda had the game in hand with a lead of 11-6, but a particularly strong server pulled Spruce View into the lead (11-13). A couple of outstanding digs by two players (Tim and Wyatt) kept us in the match. In the final point, a Spruce View player carried the ball giving us the win.
This is the fifth time in the last eight years the Donalda School Boys Volleyball Team (the Eagles) has won this title (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009). This is a considerable accomplishment, and all who participated or contributed in any way are proud and appreciative.