The team had a strong start to their year after finishing as the runner up in a tournament in Spirit River, and kept improving as the season went on.
“We had a great start with Spirit River and that tournament. Seeing what we were starting with was a high point getting second place there,” says coach Elena Schmidt. “It was good confidence wise for the girls to have that starting point. We just built on that. Seeing them progress in practice has been real nice as a coach because a lot of times with senior teams it’s hard to get big improvements but we’ve seen that throughout the season.”
Even though Schmidt knew she’d be working with a strong team this year, she admits she was surprised when the team started to be recognized provincially as one of the best.
“I had a feeling this was going to be a very strong team and we were going to do great things because it was also very well rounded as we had strength in numbers,” she states. “That definitely has been a pleasant surprise [being ranked]. Not that I thought any less of the team but to be accomplishing that has been a great surprise.”
Team member Makari Espe was on last year’s team that went to provincials. She says the team needs to show that they aren’t afraid to face the calibre of teams they’ll be facing, and to soak up the experience in playing in their final tournament.
“Only a few of us were there last year. All we can really say is they’re tall. We have to go in not expecting to lose. We need to play to win. It’s our last tournament together for the seniors so I’m expecting to play hard and play to win and not get too emotional in the end because it’s our last tournament together,” she states.
The Ooks will play their first game tomorrow morning against Moscrop. The tournament goes through Saturday.