An impressive season for the St. Mary Marauders boys’ volleyball came just one win short of being a dream campaign for the program.
The Marauders reached the podium at the SHSAA 5A boys’ tournament for the first time since 2016 on Saturday at Winston Knoll Collegiate in Regina, but they just missed out on winning a gold medal as they dropped a straight sets decision to the Meadow Lake Carpenter Spartans.
“Obviously we are disappointed that we lost our last match, but we’re really happy with how our year went,” Marauders head coach Rene Quintal said.
“We won 90 per cent of our matches this season and we also picked up some big wins against schools from Edmonton and Calgary that are among the top high school volleyball programs in Alberta.”
The Marauders, who had topped the Spartans last week in the 5A North Region final at Carlton, went a perfect 4-0 in the round-robin to finish first in Pool A.
They followed that up with straight set wins over the Regina LeBoldus Golden Suns and the Swift Current Colts to reach the championship contest.
“I thought we played better than we did last week at Carlton,” Quintal said. “We did a really good job with our serves and our blocks in all of our games.”
After not dropping a set all weekend, the Marauders had a tough time bouncing back from a slow start in the final against a Spartans side that only lost one set on their way to the gold medal.
“They had a couple of big blocks early on and I think our hitters were a little bit tentative after that,” Quintal said.
“We came out strong in the second set with some good serves, but we had a little bit of trouble with our blocking and Meadow Lake was able to get into a good rhythm with their offence as a result.”
Although the Marauders will lose Jordan Cyr, Daniel Chao, Ryan Bicknell, Luke Topping, Ethan Wandzura and Nic Barker to graduation, most of the core from this year’s roster is expected to be back for the 2020 campaign.
“We might have to change our style of play a little bit and go back to being a small ball team instead of the physical style that we’ve been the last few years, but we can adapt to that,” Quintal said.