SP_Womvall~For the first time in four years, the Thunder women’s volleyball team won its way to the OCAA championship tournament in North Bay.

The ladies clinched the spot in the playoffs at the home crossover game against Royal Redeemer on Feb. 20.

Both teams played a strong game winning alternating sets. It all came down to the fifth set where the Thunder finished strong with a 15-10 win.

“I will admit we were not the favoured team to win but that’s what made it all the more exciting when we did. We were the underdog and we came out on top,” said Serah Rounds-Zavitz, right/left side player.

“Going into the game I knew that it was going to be tough as Redeemer has knocked us out two of the past three years, and they have one of the most explosive players in the OCAA,” said team coach Everton Senior.

Notable players included Julianna Tebrake, middle, and her “blocking prowess” according to Senior. In the fourth and fifth set, the ball almost never made it past the net thanks to Tebrake’s strong blocks.

First-year student Breanne Scheerhoorn “continued to impress in her rookie year earning some big points for us,” said Senior.

“Before the game everyone had the same mindset: we wanted to win this game more than anything in the world,” said left/right side player Scheerhoorn.

“We’ve lost this crossover game every year, so this is a sweet sweet win,” commented Sherry Rounds, the mother of Rounds-Zavitz and a frequent spectator of the team.

The Thunder won the chance to host the crossover game after defeating La Cité at home on Feb. 11.

Coach Senior admitted that the qualifier against La Cité was overall a “sloppy match” and a “lucky win” for the Thunder.

But, he was happy to say that Saturday’s game was “one of the most exciting, rollercoaster matches I have ever been a part of. All of their hard work paid off in spades Saturday afternoon.”

Feb. 11 game was seniors’ night for the women’s team and they took time at the start of the match to honour four graduating athletes: Victoria Waizmann, Serah Rounds-Zavitz, Julianna Tebrake and Jazzmyn Barnett-Isaac.

The team will travel to North Bay on Feb. 24 to play in the provincial championship tournament.