The Battlefords VC Impact, with local players Jenna Teasdale, back row second from left, and Janae Jordan, back row sixth from left, celebrate their Saskatchewan Volleyball U16 Tier 1 championship. The girls are in Edmonton this weekend where they’re competing at nationals. SUBMITTED PHOTO
A couple of local girls are playing for a Canadian volleyball championship this weekend.
Lloydminster’s Janae Jordan and Paradise Valley’s Jenna Teasdale will help lead the Battlefords Impact toward a Volleyball Canada Nationals gold medal at Edmonton’s Expo Centre this Wednesday to Saturday.
The Impact are the reigning Saskatchewan Volleyball under-16 Division 1 champions, but that doesn’t mean their quest for a national medal won’t come without its challenges.
Jana Friedenstab, coach of the Impact, said they placed 11th in the under-14 category at Nationals two years ago and 22nd in the under-15 division last spring. She said they did well each year to get that result, but the expectation is they’ll improve on that mark this time around.
Friendenstab said Division 1 ball at Nationals includes five different tiers. She said the first day of competition determines where a team gets filtered through the tiers with their opening pool play contests coming against New Brunswick’s No. 1 seed as well as Alberta and Ontario’s sixth-place entries.
“Six in Alberta and Ontario is probably pretty good for us,” said Friendenstab. “New Brunswick is pretty similar to our Saskatchewan training, so we have a good shot in our first pool play to come out strong. So, I’m hoping we can be first or second in that pool play before we get rerouted.”
The Impact have enjoyed a remarkable run to the national championships this season, capturing gold in the first and third Saskatchewan Volleyball Cup tournaments along with a bronze in the second.
The team also won a tournament in Prince Albert and placed 45th in a major club volleyball competition in Las Vegas earlier this winter.
“We’re very good at running our middle,” said Friendenstab, noting Teasdale and Abby Neufeld hold down that position. “We have the two best middles in Saskatchewan on our team. And our setter is very good at getting them the ball, so that makes a huge difference.”
Teasdale, a 16-year-old student at Paradise Valley’s E.H. Walter High School, said Friendenstab offered her the opportunity to join the Impact this season and she jumped at the chance.
She said everyone treated her well, they all got along, and the team won a provincial title, so it proved to be a great choice.
The Impact dropped their first match of the April 27-29 Saskatchewan Volleyball championships to the Weyburn Rush, but the team battled back to win their next two pool play and three playoff games for the chance at a gold medal. The girls powered past the Saskatchewan Stealth 25-18, 25-18 in that contest to take the top spot on the podium.
“The main thing was the energy that we had,” said Teasdale. “We came in very excited. Our crowd was loud and we were all together playing. We never got down on ourselves.”
Friendenstab said Teasdale and Jordan, a left side for the club, travelled to North Battleford once a week during the season to participate in two practices as well as a weight training session that separated the on-court work. She said a third practice on a weekday had been added to the schedule recently in an effort to make sure they’re ready to face the best Canada has to offer.
“It’ll be a good competition,” said Friendenstab. “I’m looking forward to it.”