Trojans win Earl Berry Classic tournament
Camrose Composite High School Trojans Ed Pudlowski, left, and Jonas Enns go up for a block against New Norway in the A semifinal of the Earl Berry Classic volleyball tournament at CCHS on Sept. 9. The Trojans went on to beat Parkland Composite High School to win the tournament. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
The Camrose Composite High School Trojans boys’ volleyball team used the disappointment of losing out in a provincial tie breaker as motivation for this season.
Loaded with top Grade 12 talent, they have their sights set on a podium finish at this year’s Alberta Schools Athletic Association Championship in Strathmore from Nov. 23-25.
They got off to a good start this weekend. With only one practice under their belt, they won the 2017 Earl Berry Classic Volleyball tournament, beating the Parkland Composite High School Pacers 2-1 (25-21, 23-25, 15-13) in the final.
“It’s definitely a building block for the rest of the season,” said Trojans head coach Hans Haugen. “We always like to use this tournament as practice time … we like to get everyone in and winning the tournament is a nice cherry on top.”
They have a loaded roster this year, armed with the experience of being provincial hosts in 2016. Eight of their nine players are Grade 12s and several of them will be looking to post-secondary teams in 2018, including right side Josh Watson, power Ben McPherson and middles Jonas Enns and Carson Hilburn.
“We’re pretty big and physical this year,” said Haugen. “We have the benefit of being a fairly big, tall, and lean team which helps us offensively get hands on balls at the net and things like that.”
Though the season is just getting underway, Haugen is already seeing some important characteristics out of his group that will help get them over the hump this year.
Volleyball, almost more than any other sport, is a game of wild swings, and a team’s ability to bounce back or hold off shifting momentum is critical.
Following their 2-1 semifinal win over the New Norway Spartans, they faced another difficult challenge against the PCHS Pacers out of Edson. The Pacers rallied from a 21-17 deficit in the second set to force a deciding race to 15 points and got out to a big 11-7 lead. But the Trojans fought back and scored five-straight points before eventually winning 15-13.
“It shows our mental toughness, last year we probably would have lost those games,” said Haugen. “This year, just having that mental toughness, that veteran savvy, helps us claw through those instances where we would have panicked in the past.”
The Trojans now dive into Central Alberta School Athletic Association league play with their first home game on Sept. 20 when they host Wetaskiwin. Their next Tournament is the LCI Classic in Lethbridge from Sept. 28-30.
NOTES — The CCHS Trojans girls’ team advanced to the semifinal before losing to Our Lady of Mount Pleasant, who finished second at the tournament.