Many hands needed to host a successful OFSAA tournament

Many hands needed to host a successful OFSAA tournament

The Walkerton District Riverhawks didn’t come away from the OFSAA single-A girls volleyball championship with a medal, but hosted an intense three-day tournament and helped make lasting memories for hundreds of high-school athletes.

Twenty high school volleyball teams were represented, including the Bluewater Athletic Association and CWOSSA champion Riverhawks.

The action got underway Monday morning with games played at four area locations – Walkerton District Community School, Sacred Heart High School, Kincardine District Secondary School, and the Davidson Centre in Kincardine.

The Riverhawks fell to Smithville Christian High School in the championship-bracket quarterfinal Tuesday night.

“They played their hearts out. They played with so much grit and determination and rose to the occasion . . . I’m just so proud of them,” said Riverhawks coach and tournament convenor, Tanya Byers.

“I think they started to feel it at CWOSSA when they won . . . they’ve come so far in the belief in themselves. The belief that they can do it” said Riverhawks coach and tournament convenor, Donnette Wand.

The Riverhawks went 3-1 in pool play. Their only loss came against top-seeded E. J. Lajeunesse.

Three teams in Pool D finished with identical 3-1 records forcing a one-set, first-to-15-points tiebreaker. The Riverhawks won the tiebreaker to earn a berth into the quarterfinals.

The tiebreaker game took place in Kincardine but was streamed to Riverhawks fans watching inside the Walkerton District Community School cafeteria.

“I knew people would be supportive, but I had no idea the volume of support and the community spirit it would create,” said Wand.

The Riverhawks played two pool play games “at home” in front of a large gathering of support inside WDCS.

“All the bleachers were full, the doorways were full. We had to open the doors so more people could watch. It was really spectacular. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in our school. It was awesome,” said Wand.

“One of our players asked if we could host the tournament again next year,” Byers said.

Over 100 volunteer shirts were created for the three-day tournament. A committee of 20 members and four site coordinators organized and oversaw the three-day provincial high school tournament.

WDCS and Sacred Heart’s tech programs helped provide a live-stream of the games. Kincardine’s Conner Smith was a big part of that effort, said Wand and Byers. The student used his own equipment and set up one of the live-feeds.

“People are really excited to watch their kids play . . . there were over 1,000 views for one of the streams,” said Byers.

Local restaurants provided food for the officials, while local homeowners billeted. A Walkerton grocery store donated food and the school’s food program made meals throughout the tournament.

Greg Cowan - Owen Sound Sun Times

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