Hosting the South Central Zone 3A/4A junior girls volleyball tournament, the Canmore Crusaders ended their first round playoff with a loss at CCHS, Nov. 18-19.
Early on, Canmore got off to a good start, as they faced the Strathmore Spartans in the first match of the round-robin, beating them in two games by scores of 25-18 and 25-16.
Winning continued with the first game of their second match against Holy Trinity, with a close 26-24 win. Holy Trinity came back at them, however, winning the next two games to take the match, with scores of 25-17 and 15-9.
For the third match of the round robin, Canmore faced Airdrie’s George McDougall Mustangs and lost in two games, 25-17 and 25-23.
Canmore found itself in a third-place tie with the Mustangs and had to face them again for a single game, tie-breaking match.
Here the Crusaders pulled together and, though it was a very close game, with the two teams never more than three points apart, they were able to overcome George McDougall, winning 27-25.
This put them into the playoffs, matched against the Foothills Falcons, who finished second in their division.
The Falcons proved to be too powerful a team, however, and defeated the Crusaders in two games, 25-17 and 25-6.
Overall, Canmore won two of five matches, four of 10 games and was outscored 192-223.
Sun Praught, coach of the Canmore team, was pleased with the way the season turned out.
“We played very, very well, we had a great game against Strathmore in the first round – it was a great win for us,” she said. “Then we ended up in a tie, for the last spot of the pool, and had to play a sudden death game against George MacDougall from Airdrie, and that was a fantastic match.
“That was probably the highlight of our tournament, digging out that tough win and getting ourselves into the playoffs.
For the final game, it was a matter of size, she said.
“And then in our last game, we came up against a big, tall, tough team that did a lot of tipping, they hit the ball hard, and they beat us,” said Praught. “As I say to the girls, I’m okay to lose a game to a better team.
“I don’t like when we beat ourselves, and we were against a better team.”
Team member Nicola Davies was more bothered by it being the end of season, than by the loss.
“It was a lot of fun, it’s going to be really sad to be done with volleyball, and so it was a really good way to end the season, just all together,” she said. “I love the team, I love the girls and I love playing with them.”
The Grade 10 student found being a part of the team to be an amazing experience.
“We work really well together, and we can play very well and cheer each other on, so it’s lots of fun,” she said.
Cara Murphy echoed these sentiments.
“It’s zones, so we wanted to do really well, but our team, even though we got out, we played so amazing,” she said. “We just came together. And I want to just shout out to the bench people, because they are unreal, they kept us in the game, they were just screaming for us and made me play well just hearing them.”
Shouting, and cheering on your team is an important part of the game, she stressed.
“It gets really tense, and most of our games are very close. Then every point you get is actually a huge deal and you scream and scream and everyone screams with you,” said Murphy. “It was an amazing tournament and I think of these girls as my family, and Sue was the mom of our family. We never give up, we always persevere and it’s just amazing to play with them.
“I’m really sad the season’s over.”
Overall, Praught said she was pleased with the way the team played, and it was a good way to end the season.
“It’s been a great season,” she said. “We’ve played eight tournaments and had some great successes.
“We won our very first tournament of the year, way back in September, and I’d say most tournaments we made it into the semifinals,” she explained. “A good strong team, I’d say we just need somebody about six-four to move to Canmore. We’re a short team, so we have to work a lot harder at defence.”