Winning 12 of 15 games and five of seven matches, the Canmore Collegiate junior boys volleyball team has something to be proud of.
The school hosted a nine-team tournament with teams from across the province attending, last weekend (Oct. 14-15) – Canmore claimed silver.
To open round robin play, Canmore won three of four matches and seven of eight games. The only loss was to Louis St. Laurent, a Catholic school from Edmonton. In that match, they split games, winning one and losing one, but losing on overall points.
Coach Bill Praught spoke on behalf of the team.
“Junior volleyball’s pretty inconsistent by its nature, but for the most part they played well,” he said. “We have excellent setting and we have some good hitters, so when we’re able to get our first contact to our setter, then we’re able to play really well.”
The team can also dominate with its serve, he said, though first contact is where they need to improve.
“Basically, we need to work on movement and the first contact,” said Praught. “When the ball first comes over the net, we need to work on getting it under control quickly and bumping it back over the net with a spike.”
Seeded second going into the playoff round, Canmore first faced Black Diamond’s Oilfields High, beating them in two games of 25-11 each.
Then they faced Airdrie’s Bert Church Chargers, who they also defeated in two games, by scores of 25-21 and 25-13.
Going into the final, Canmore was up against the Louis St. Laurent Barons for a rematch. Both teams played fiercely in the first game, with the Barons coming out on top, 25-21.
In the second game, Canmore fought back and impressively beat their opponent 25-16.
Forcing a third and deciding game, Louis St. Laurent overpowered the Crusaders, winning the game 15-7 gold.
“The guys played pretty well, especially in the second game, but a few things hurt us,” said Prought. “Normally we’re a strong serving team and we didn’t serve very well during the final match.
“There were quite a few missed serves that cost us. The other team served really well and that caused us difficulty as well; that was a big factor.”
Getting to play Louis St. Laurent was a good thing though, he said.
“It was good to play tough matches, because we haven’t had very many this year and it was good to play a good team and that’ll help us improve in the long run,” explained Praught. “Overall, as a coach I was happy with it, I think the boys were disappointed, but you can’t always win.
“I’d put us and them quite a ways ahead of the other teams in the tournament. A good team like Louis St. Laurent forced us to play our best.”
Over the next three weekends, the team plays away tournaments at Black Diamond, Okotoks and Medicine Hat. Zones will then be at Okotoks on Nov. 18-19.