In a must-win situation, the Carlton Crusaders girls’ volleyball team came up with one of their best showings of the 2019 season on Saturday.
A straight-set win over the 5A North Region host Lloydminster Barons gave the Crusaders the second and final berth into this weekend’s SHSAA provincial championships, which will be held in Weyburn on Friday and Saturday.
“We had just lost to North Battleford before that game,” Crusaders head coach Brooke Dallyn recalled. “The girls were able to get back into the right mindset to shake off that loss and they knew what they had to in order to get to the provincials.”
The Crusaders posted a 3-1 record in the five-team round-robin tournament as they punched their ticket to their fifth straight 5A provincial championship.
“Every game was a battle this weekend,” Dallyn said. “There wasn’t an easy matchup for any team.”
“Our consistency was the key to our success this weekend. We also had some girls stepping up into different roles and they did what we needed them to do in certain situations.”
The team has reached the final four at their last two provincial championships, as they lost bronze medal games to the St. Joseph Guardians in 2017 and the Weyburn Eagles last year.
The Crusaders will be going up against the Guardians and the Eagles in Pool B play, with their other opponents being the Swift Current Ardens and the Regina Miller Marauders.
“We haven’t seen Miller at all this year and we’ve only seen Weyburn and Swift Current once, but we have seen St. Joe’s a little bit at tournaments around the province,” Dallyn said.
“We’re going to stick with what we know best down in Weyburn this weekend. If we can do as well as we did at the regionals, I think we can challenge the top teams.”
The other five teams at the tournament are the North Battleford Vikings, Balgonie Greenall Griffins, Saskatoon Bishop James Mahoney Saints, Regina Winston Knoll Wolverines and the defending provincial champion Regina Campbell Tartans.
Marauders just miss out on a provincial berth
The Crusaders’ win over the Barons brought an end to the campaign for the St. Mary Marauders, as the perennial provincial contender finished in third place at the North Region tournament with a 2-2 mark.
“I’d be lying if I said the team wasn’t disappointed with the outcome,” Marauders head coach Shaun Hunko said. “Sometimes, things don’t work out as you had planned them to and the provincials just weren’t in the cards for us this year.
“Our girls played great in Lloydminster and it was a tremendous year for us as we medaled in seven tournaments and finished fifth in Spruce Grove. It stings right now, but we’ll be better for it.”
The Marauders will lose three players from this year’s roster as Alyssa Abrametz, Bella Amyotte and Kiera Joy are set to graduate from the program.