By Katie Gauthier
The Immaculata Saints have served up a winning formula during their regular season this year.
But in recent years, the Immaculata high school’s junior girls’ volleyball team has struggled to win even one game during the regular season.
“We haven’t had that much success in the past few years,” says coach Alain Dubé. “We are definitely happy to experience the flip-side of losing.”
Dubé says his team’s successful record of seven wins and no losses is somewhat unexpected.
“We had no idea what kind of players we were getting,” he says. “We have been lucky because this was a rebuilding year.”
Dubé says only two of the 12 players were members of last year’s volleyball team.
Co-captain Olivia Giuliani says she’s glad to finally be part of a winning volleyball team.
The 15-year-old setter was a member of last year’s team that didn’t win a single game.
“We all try really hard,” says Giuliani. “We really do.”
Dubé says the team’s winning streak is largely due to how quickly the players learned the necessary volleyball skills.
“We have had success with strong serving, setting and hitting,” he says. “Some other teams are still having problems with passing and some of the basic skills.”
The first-place Saints compete in Tier 2 of the Ottawa region’s Western Division against four other high school teams.
Dubé says once he realized how talented his players were, it was too late to move his team into the higher calibre Tier 1 league.
He says the team has played Tier 1 teams with some success throughout the season.
Dubé says this team is unlike any other he’s coached. He says the girls are relaxed and carefree.
“Some of the other teams that I have coached have been extremely intense,” he says. “But it is much easier to have a relaxed atmosphere when you are winning.”
Giuliani says all team members are dedicated to improving their game. She says one of her teammates even took a volleyball home to practise during March Break.
“People are going out of their way to practise” she says. “And it is really paying off.”
Giuliani says she’s confident they will be ready for the finals.
“When we go to the finals, and we will, we will play Elmwood really well,” she says, adding that Elmwood is the team’s biggest challenge.
Co-captain Kelsey McGuire agrees. The 14-year-old setter and power hitter says the team will make the finals due to its teamwork.
“We are having these successes because we are all friends, we work well together and we can communicate,” she says.
“Success comes in waves. Hopefully we can ride this to a few banners and a lot more success over the next few years.”