The U14 Cochrane Aces girls volleyball team has returned from Richmond, B.C. as national volleyball champions.

Appearing in their first-ever the national tournament of Volleyball Canada, they had a 7-2 record and played 3 set matches in each of the playoff rounds to claim gold in their division.

In quarterfinals against Offspeed, from Winnipeg, they came back to win their last two games 25-20 and 15-7. In semis against the Calgary Lions, they won the rubber game 18-16 to advance to the gold medal game. 

aces on courtThe U14 girls Aces at the nationals. (photo/Rhonda Laurell)

The Aces won the first game against Surrey's Rain City team, 25-21, and the rubber 15-12 to claim gold.

They also faced teams from Lake Country, St. Albert, and Vancouver in the preliminary round.

The team is coached by Chelsea Harrison, John Brown and Jessica May. Team members are Landree Brown, Belle Carr, Georgia Harrison, Bea May, Ruby Hooper, Zenieke Snyman, Morgan Derricott, Nathalie Rebollos, Rylee Dolgin, Haylee Laurell, Mataya Hoskin, and Kasha Kelly. 

The Aces finished seventh out of the 16 teams in their division in provincials before being selected in a lottery for a berth in nationals.

"Because this is our first trip to nationals, and the team had talked about going and the goal was to play at their potential, play as best they could, and have fun at their first experience at nationals," says team manager Rhonda Laurell. "They definitely did those two things and more," says

Established in 2012, the Aces is one of the largest volleyball clubs in Canada, involving over 1,000 players, coaches, and alumni. Besides Cochrane, the Aces volleyball club has programs in Calgary, Okotoks, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Leduc and Fraser Valley, B.C.

There are seven Cochrane Aces teams from U12 to U18, including one co-ed team, and the sport continues to grow in popularity.

"Volleyball is one of the most popular sports for girls this age," says Laurell, "It is a tremendously growing sport for girls."

Their play is limited to outside of the high school fall season. Tryouts for the 24/25 Cochrane ACE teams are at the end of November.

For more information on Aces volleyball, click here