The Cobras senior girls and boys volleyball teams topped the ranks of competitors in this past weekend's South Central Zone tournament in Strathmore and are heading to Westlock for 3A provincials Nov. 25-27.
Days after beating Springbank for the Rocky View Schools title, the boys team once again faced off against the Phoenix in the zones final, beating them in straight sets.
The girls were also pitted against Springbank for their final match and won 25-11 in the first set and 25-15 in the second to secure their position in the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) provincial volleyball championships along with the boys, entering the tournament with a number one ranking.
Springbank's senior girls team will also make an appearance at provincials, receiving a wildcard entry for their second-place rank at zones.
"They're gelling and the chemistry is really coming alive," said Cobras senior girls head coach Esther Sieben of the team. "We came out our pool [at zones] number one and we didn't even lose a set."
The girls had a bye into quarter finals and then played against Brooks in the semi, which Sieben said started a bit rough for the Cobras.
"We lost the first set 25-23, but then it was like the girls just realized that this is our berth into provincials — we need to work hard, we need to dig up every ball and all of a sudden there was this switch that turned on with the girls and they were on fire.
"We went on to beat Brooks in the best of three."
The senior girls will face nine other teams at the provincial tournament, where in recent years, Springbank and Cochrane have topped the ranks. The Phoenix were last to win gold in 2019 while Cochrane High took gold in 2018 and silver the year prior.
Sieben commended the senior boys performance at zones and said it feels great to see both teams going into provincials.
"We've created a tradition at Cochrane High and I think it shows in the volleyball programs," she said.
"We mean business. We train hard, we practice hard, we try to play teams throughout the season that are bigger and stronger and we learn. The old Cochrane High saying is that we don't lose, we either win or we learn. And that's a big part of volleyball is taking back each time you do lose and learning from that loss and learning how we can be better."
Sieben said she is grateful to all the sports organizations, everyone who has hosted tournaments and to Rocky View Schools in general, for giving players the opportunity to do what they love after having some of that taken away over the past year-and-a-half.
In their first provincials match, the senior girls take on Westlock's R.F. Staples and the senior boys will open the tournament against Morinville.