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WOSSAA junior girls' volleyball

 Beavers capture WOSSAA 1A crown


  Dorchester dumps Goderich, 3-0, in the junior girls' gold medal volleyball match


  Wednesday, February 20, 2019


  • WOSSAA volleyball
  • WOSSAA volleyball
  • WOSSAA volleyball
  • WOSSAA volleyball
  • WOSSAA volleyball
  • WOSSAA volleyball



By Rob J. Ross 

DORCHESTER - The Lord Dorchester Beavers have returned to top of the mountain.

After 15 years, the Beavers made the final step becoming Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) single-A junior girls' volleyball champions.

The Beavers swept aside the Goderich Vikings, 25-20, 25-21, 25-16, in the best of five game gold medal match, at Lord Dorchester Secondary School.

"All season there was something about these kids' composure. Some teams get rattled at the end, but we say, ok it's ours. We finish really strong," Beavers' coach Bruce Dalke said. "We have some strength all the way across all of the positions. That makes it really hard for teams to keep up."

Dorchester never trailed during the final, jumping out to an early lead in each game.

"That's not been our usual. We usually start slow," said Dalke, but the Beaver defence was aggressive the entire match. "We really scrambled well and people were going after the ball."

Goderich had no answer for an offensive attack led by Olivia Burberry, Jamie Worsfold, Emily Wessman and team captain Leaha Johnston.

"Working together as a team for us was a big asset. We all get along so well and it all builds up and has a great outcome in the end," Johnston said. "Hitting works out really well for us (and) we're a really good placing team. We think about it before we place the ball."

Dorchester brushed aside London Monsignor Bruyere in the semifinals, 25-14, 25-21, 25-19, but Dalke points out it was not as easy as the score indicates.

"This morning it went three nothing, but we were tied at 19 in both the second and third set. Both times it was tight at 19, but we got a really good surge," the coach said. "It is hard to play at your best and sustain it throughout the day. I wanted to get everybody in to get the chance to play at WOSSAA."

Dorchester finished second in the TVRA East Division, behind Woodstock College Avenue. During the TVRA single-A playoffs, the Beavers went 6-0 winning their semifinal over West Elgin and final against the Central Elgin Titans.

"Central Elgin was one of our stronger games. They had a really strong team," said Dalke.

Johnston was unsure how the season would unfold, but confidence in the team did nothing but grow.

"Last year was not a good year, so it (WOSSAA) wasn't on my mind, but after a few practices it was really hopeful because we had a lot of good players and we seemed to like each other," Johnston said. "Half way through the season when we played all of the teams once, we realized we were a strong, well put together team. That was the point we knew we could do something."

This is Dorchester's first WOSSAA championship in junior girls' volleyball since 2004. Dorchester made the WOSSAA final, in back to back seasons in 2016 and 2017, but fell to St. Marys and Monsignor Bruyere, respectively.

Monsignor Bruyere won the junior bronze medal, defeating London Westminster, 25-18, 25-9, 25-16.

Goderich, 6-1, this season in the Huron-Perth Conference, beat Westminster in their WOSSAA semifinal, 25-11, 26-24, 25-21.