Lessons learned at volleyball provincials
CCHS Trojans senior girls' volleyball player Sydney Leslie goes up for an attack during 3A volleyball provincials at H.J. Cody School in Sylvan Lake on the weekend. Photo by TimeLapesPhotography
Camrose teams earned some hard lessons the Alberta School Athletic Association Volleyball Championships this past weekend.
The Camrose Composite High School Trojans sent their senior girls' team to Sylvan Lake for the 3A tournament and the Our Lady of Mount Pleasant Royals sent their senior boys' team to Taber for the 2 A championship. Both teams returned with 1-4 records.
However, this weekend was not so much about trying to win medals as it was gaining experience, especially for OLMP which is hosting the tournament next year.
"It did come down to a (lack of) experience … where you could tell when it got into the tight matches we didn't have quite enough to pull through and be on the winning side," said Royals head coach Ryan Popowich. "Still overall, it was an awesome experience for the boys to go there and get to see it."
OLMP scored their one victory over host St. Mary's School, 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 20-18). They also managed to give eventual provincial champion Immanuel Christian High from Lethbridge a scare by pushing them to three sets before falling 25-19, 21-25, 15-11. The Royals also had close 2-0 defeats to J.R. Robson out of Vermilion, Rundle College out of Calgary, and Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School.
The Royals are returning six players off of this year's roster.
"Now that I've had this group for a year, they're going to come in now knowing what to expect from me and just that kind of culture we want to create early on," said Popowich.
The Trojans made their season goal just by making the provincial tournament, but they also landed in a pool that produced three of the top four finishers at the championship.
Their tournament got off to a tough start as they ran into Lethbridge Collegiate Institute in their first match and lost 25-13, 25-15, and then lost 2-0 (25-19, 25-10) to Cochrane High School. On Friday afternoon, they lost a showdown with St. Paul Regional High 25-17, 25-21, ending their hopes advancing to the playoff round. They rebounded on Saturday morning to beat Barrhead Composite 25-22, 26-24, but ran out of steam against Peace Waipiti in their finale.
"The girls battled every game, but it was a hard tournament for us," said Trojans head coach Graeme Thain.
Next year they will be faced with a lot of turnover, but the four returning players will give them a strong nucleus to build around.
"There's a core group there that is going to be needed to have the same kind of success next year," said Thain. "We will have to see in tryouts and re-evaluate our goals."