This past weekend the Senior Boys and Girls volleyball teams travelled to Camrose, AB to compete in the 2A Provincials tournament. The teams left on Wednesday afternoon and managed to get to the venue in time to have some practice time in the gym and then settle into their hotel rooms. Following the opening ceremonies the next morning, the boys got to work on their pool play. The Thursday games against Our Lady of Mount Pleasant (25-20, 25-22) and Immanuel Christian (25-20, 19-25, 15-6) were hard fought and we came out victorious. The day was followed by a beautiful banquet for all the players provided by the tournament organizers.
The Friday games proved to be much more challenging as we lost to two very tough teams; FG Miller (24-26, 19-25) and Calgary Christian (25-23, 25-27, 10-15). However, Saturday morning was a new day and the last pool play game against St Augustine. The combination of powerful hits and solid passing from Ben Sp. ’19 helped the team to crush their opponent in the first set 25-7. The next set was also easily handled with the strong hitting of Matt H. ’19 and athletic footwork and hitting of Matt J. ’20 leading the team to a 25-11 victory. As a result, the team ended the pool play in second place and ready to face our cross over opponent, the La Crete Lancers. The boys brought a lot of energy to this game knowing that a win here would move them to the semi-final. They took charge in this match, winning in two (25-11, 25-23).
With this win, the boys set their sights on the next match against West Island College (WIC). The boys were looking forward to meeting this formidable opponent whom they had played in exhibition earlier this year. The boys were suffering from some nerves early in the game, getting down 5-10; however, the boys put all that aside with the relentless and powerful backrow (Pipe) hits from Jeremy P.L. ’19 and Jared K. ’20 picking off the corners, the team started to chip away at the lead. The girls team who had stayed to watch the match began the encouraging cheers of “Here we go Spartans, Here we go!” and the energy quickly spread to the parents and the players.
Who can forget Julian P.L. ’20 with his strategic tips and roar of celebration combined with Tom D. ’19 who got into the party ball mood as well, killing the ball and following up with his signature bobble head celebration of his own? The wave of intensity could not be stopped and the boys took control of the game, coming from behind to win 25-20. The second set was also a fight, but the team could not overcome the powerful WIC hitters and despite the hard serving and quick hands of Aadam N. ’19 and continuous passing and defensive moves from Alec C. ’19, we lost 20-25.
Despite the loss, the air in the gym was electric with excitement as the boys set their sites on the third set. The level of play had been epic so far from both teams and our boys came out roaring, taking an early lead, with each player giving it their all. Unfortunately, they could not maintain the momentum, one of the hardest things to overcome in volleyball, and they lost in a heart-breaking 14-16 final score.
Following the emotional wave of the match, the boys were exhausted, but they knew they had one more game to go. They gathered their collective strength to face the challenging Immanuel Christian one more time. Under the careful and steady direction of Mr. Roth, the team set the tone with their athletic play, grit and determination. We will not forget the finale of the powerful and on target spin serves of Cole S. ’19 followed with the solid digging from the always smiling Hussein A. ’19, which led the team to finish their season winning in two sets.
The boys wrapped up the season with their second Provincials bronze medal finish in two years and the memories of a fun-filled and character-building season of friendship and sport. Well done boys and congratulations to Mr. Roth!
Finally, a special thank you to Mr. Trevor Julian who made the rather dodgy winter drive up Highway 2 on Friday with his daughter to cheer and support both the STS teams.