The Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) Elecs senior boys and girls volleyball teams came up short this past weekend in their quest to qualify for their respective 5A provincial tournaments.
The senior boys came within a win of reaching provincials during regionals in Weyburn, while the girls were at regionals in Moose Jaw, where they won one of four games.
The Elecs boys opened the round robin with a 2-0 (25-7, 25-9) victory over Moose Jaw Peacock on Friday night, and then split their first two games Saturday, losing 2-0 (25-17, 25-17) to Swift Current, and beating Moose Jaw Central 2-1 (25-22, 16-25, 15-9).
In the quarterfinals, ECS defeated Weyburn 2-1 (25-21, 25-27, 15-2) to knock their rivals out of contention for provincials, but then lost 2-0 (25-17, 25-14) to Balgonie in the semifinal round.
The Elecs still had a shot at provincials if they would have won the third place game, but they dropped a 2-1 (28-26, 23-25, 15-13) decision to Yorkton, which ended their season.
Coach Nathan Johnson said the result was a disappointment for the players, as they were hoping to get to provincials in Prince Albert. They came out strong in their opener against Moose Jaw Peacock, and were rewarded with the convincing victory.
“We came in with a lot of energy,” said Johnson. “Moose Jaw Peacock was a weaker opponent, but we talked about getting those games done as quickly as possible, and really controlling our side, so we got our tournament off on the right foot.”
But they “underachieved” on the second day, and Johnson believes they had a lot of missed opportunities and unforced errors. The matches they won were three-set contests.
The Elecs and Swift Current had split their two previous matches, while the Elecs lost their two previous matches against Balgonie. Swift Current and Balgonie are both strong teams, Johnson said, as Swift Current won provincials last year, and Johnson predicted Balgonie would have a shot at winning a medal at provincials this year.
Estevan had defeated Yorkton Regional when they met the week before in the round robin of Yorkton Regional’s home tournament, but Johnson believes Yorkton deserved to move on with the way they played at regionals.
The Elecs boys will lose nine of 10 players to graduation, but Johnson said the junior boys program has some good athletes in Grades 9 and 10 ready to step in next year.
The senior girls, meanwhile, travelled to Moose Jaw for the 5A southern qualifier. Estevan dropped its first round robin game 2-1 (25-17, 15-25, 15-6) to Moose Jaw Vanier on Friday night, but responded with a 2-0 (25-10, 25-9) victory over Moose Jaw Central to open play Saturday.
In their final round robin contest, the Elecs lost 2-0 (15-25, 21-25) to Weyburn. Coach Nicole Rogalski said they played well in that game despite the outcome, and that second set was their best of the tournament.
“They’re a tough team for us, and to only lose by four points, that was pretty big for us,” said Rogalski.
Their hopes of qualifying for provincials came to an end in a 2-0 (25-16, 25-15) loss to Swift Current in the quarterfinal round.
Rogalski said the team had a good showing at regionals, although they had some ups and downs.
“We worked in our practices on serves,” said Rogalski. “Serving is very important in the game. If you can get almost all of your serves over, then you’re doing pretty well. So the girls are fairly consistent in actually getting their serves over.”
They also had some good blocks in the front row, good defensive coverage and good teamwork.
The senior girls will only lose two players to graduation this year, and have some talented players waiting in the wings at the junior girls’ level. Rogalski expects the experience from regionals will help those joining the team next season, and she is confident they will have a fairly strong team in 2019.
“We always have a tough competition with our 5A teams, so going in and seeing how strong we were this year, and only losing two of our players, I think it will be a good eye-opener for them to see the potential we could have next year,” said Rogalski.