The Abbotsford News‘s new high school sports blog, Students of the Game, features local athletes sharing their experiences and unique perspectives. Today, Mennonite Educational Institute multi-sport star Tessa Ratzlaff reflects on the last games of her high school volleyball career.
It is crazy that a season that just felt like it started has already come to end. It is also surreal that I played my last high school volleyball game ever.
These past couple weeks have been very intense and competitive for the MEI senior girls volleyball team. On Nov. 5 we played Abbotsford Christian, and beat them in three sets. This led us to the Fraser Valleys, where we played Surrey Christian on Nov. 13. We came out with our competitive attitudes, and our first set was one of the best sets I have ever seen us play. We ended up winning in four sets. We brought so much energy and hunger for that game, and from this win we thought we had qualified for AA provincials.
We played Pacific Academy right after in the Valley semifinals. We came out with a strong win the first set, but we couldn’t find that energy we needed for the rest of the game. We lost, but were off to play Hatzic for bronze.
It was the next day that we found out we had not yet qualified for provincials – we actually had to win the game on Nov. 18 against Hatzic to go to provincials. I knew everyone had the craving to win on the Monday, and we came out strong the first set against Hatzic, but they came back and won the first two sets. We fought hard the next two sets, which resulted in going to a fifth set. It was a hard battle the whole game, and is honestly could have gone to either team. Hatzic won the game by two points, which meant we would have to play in a wild card game to get to provincials.
On Saturday the 23rd we went out to St. Patrick Regional Secondary to compete with four teams for the last provincial berth. We won our first two games, which left the last game against St. Patrick. I realized that this could be my last volleyball game, but I wanted to go to provincials so bad, especially for my Grade 12 year. We came out with a win in the first set, and lost by two points in the second set. It all came down to the third.
First off, let me tell you that the energy from the opposing team was simply ridiculous, and I have never heard so many fans cheer for just a provincial wild card game. I honestly couldn’t even look at them, it had me at my utmost competitive self. The amount of pressure and nervousness building up was crazy, but unfortunately the other team won.
That truly was one of the hardest games I had ever played, not only because it was a tough loss, but because it was the last time I was going to play for the MEI senior girls volleyball team. It also was super difficult knowing that we had already beat Surrey Christian, yet they had an automatic pass to provincials because they were co-hosting it.
It was a true honour to be a captain to this amazing group of girls, who I got to play and build strong relationships with. Our coaches were simply outstanding and the time they put in was so appreciated. Even though we lost that last game, I had so much fun playing this season, and there was so much I learned and can take away from this experience. It also reminds you to never take a game for granted, and give your all no matter what.
Getting over a loss like that will take time, but now I can look forward to playing basketball with another amazing group of girls.
Previous Students of the Game blog posts:
Tanner Friesen: Coming to terms with a season-ending defeat
Tessa Ratzlaff: Eagles volleyballers starting to find an identity