Injury and loss of a partner almost deprived Kelowna’s Jenna Ratzlaff of a chance to compete in Volleyball B.C.’s Amateur Beach Championships, but determination and a volleyball network of friends proved golden.
Less than a week before provincials, Ratzlaff’s partner advised that she could not compete. Jenna put the word out to her volleyball friends that she was looking for a partner and quickly found out that Alyssa Wolf, who lives in Burnaby was also looking for a partner. Wolf has played for VIU for the past three years and will be playing this fall at TRU.
To complicate matters further, while training in Kelowna, Ratzlaff injured her right tricep which interfered with her strong serving and hitting abilities. Even though she was in pain, Ratzlaff decided to go ahead with provincials. Ratzlaff and Wolf met on Friday in White Rock and practiced for an hour together in preparation for the tournament the next day.
Ratzlaff and Wolf were ranked third among 20 teams heading into the tournament at Kits Beach. Ratzlaff and Wolf easily placed first in their pool by winning their games 25-10, 25-10 and 25-13.
In the quarter finals, Ratzlaff and Wolf won 21-14 and 21-8 against Chong/Ramloese-Svendson, in large part to Ratzlaff’s digs and well placed hits, and Wolf’s serving.
The semi-finals saw Ratzlaff and Wolf come out strong against No. 1 ranked Weir/Ferre, winning 21-7 and 21-14. This game saw Ratzlaff power through her injury and both players served and hit strongly for a big upset.
In the final, Ratzlaff and Wolf won 21-10 in the first set against Vancouver team Chen/Jaraczewski.
In the second set, Chen and Jaraczewski played stronger pulling out great digs and placing their kills well. At 19-15, Ratzlaff had a big one-hand dig tight at the net after a tip from Chen. Wolf got a perfect set allowing Ratzlaff to execute a powerful kill in the back corner. The final point saw Ratzlaff with another perfectly placed kill to win 21-15 for the gold medal.
Other Kelowna athletes competing were Lindsay Smart and her partner Tanya Neuffer who placed seventh in Tier 1 and Erin Konrad and Sara Wallis who placed third in Tier 2.