The Franco-Cité senior girls volleyball team brought home a historic victory, winning gold at the OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) girls volleyball A division tournament in Welland on March 6th to 8th. The athletes played 7 games against the province’s best teams, and came out on top. “We knew we had a good team with lots of talent, but to get to OFSAA and come back as champions, it’s ‘wow’!” exclaims Shantal Violette, assistant coach.
It was quite the feat to even get to the finals. To qualify, the team had to first win a regional tournament against district schools from West Nipissing and North Bay. Then they had to go up against the best teams in Northern Ontario at the NOSSA (Northern Ontario Secondary School Athletics) tournament. “From there, we placed 2nd, which allowed us to go to the provincial tournament. That’s the highest that secondary schools can get to,” explains Violette.
It’s a historic win for both Franco-Cité and all Northern Ontario, according to Violette. She points out that since the beginning of this tournament in 1984, no other team from the north has won it. “My daughter, Chloé, when she was at Franco, they got to OFSAA, but they lost in the semi-finals. This is the first time that we come back with the OFSAA banner,” she explains.
It’s also Chloé Violette who is now the head coach of this winning team. “The tournament was an incredible experience for me, my mom, and the girls. I participated in an OFSAA tournament as an athlete, and now I just went through it as a coach. The girls will no doubt never forget this experience either,” says Chloé Violette.
The coach describes a hard-won tournament, particularly the semi-final match. “It was against École secondaire l’Horizon from Sudbury, a team that we had faced all season – and one that had defeated us before. We lost the first two rounds, which meant that we couldn’t lose another. We managed to come back and win the last three to take the match and secure a place in the finals. That match was stressful, but the girls knew that their friends at school and in our small community were watching and that they had plenty of support.”