The Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) Knights dominated their opponents on the way to a 1A Provincial Volleyball Championship in Eckville.
After winning 2A Zones in 2016, CACHS school population dropped down to 89, which put them down to 1A. Despite the change, CACHS managed to find their stride stride over the weekend.
“We had a really successful season for the guys,” Athletic Director Travis Eggink said. “Last year we had a big group of strong Grade 12 players who carried the group. We only had two players with a lot of game-time experience. Three of our Grade 12 players were really good leaders for our team.”
On top of being inexperienced, CACHS was also integrating a new coach into their system.
“With a new coach this year, it was a new feel for things but they really came together as a group,” Eggink said. “It was Grade 10s, 11s and 12s all working together in making that happen.”
CACHS began finding success at the Zone Championships in Consort, where they pulled away from New Norway for the title. The players were confident heading into Eckville over the weekend.
“They moved on to the Procincial Championships in Eckville, where they went undefeated,” Eggink said. “They didn’t drop a set. There were a number sets that went into the 20s and extra points, but they had really good finish and clinched when it mattered. They pushed through in the semis and then in the finals against a really good Senator Gershaw-Bow Island Team.”
Eggink credited the buy-in of the program for the success of CACHS’ athletic program.
“There is a real commitment to the school from parents, families and coaches,” he said. “There are core principles of excellence and commitment. There is a willingness to put the team before themselves. The older players have really helped foster the abilities of the younger players. It works.”
The Knights have now two provincial titles in the last four years, after finishing second and third the previous years. Eggink said next year has a good chance of being another successful year, and expects more success in other Knight sports.
“For next year looking forward, the guys have a good platform to build off,” he said. “We have a good buy-in from students, saying they aren’t just a volleyball player or soccer player. Students want to play multiple sports. We have guys who won Provincials on Saturday and Monday after school are at basketball working hard.”
He added, “I want to give a real thanks to the coaches and the work the put in. It can often be very thankless and is often not paid like it should be. They put in lots of time and give their lives to their players.”