3A regionals a learning experience for Golden Bears’ boys program

Photo Submitted The PACI Golden Bears’ boys volleyball program competed at a 3A regional tournament in Birch Hills last weekend.

Although they did not earn a spot at this weekend’s SHSAA 3A boys’ provincial volleyball championship in Tisdale, last Saturday’s trip to the regional playoffs in Birch Hills is on that that is expected to pay huge dividends for the PACI Golden Bears program.

“That was the first time that we were in a regional setting like that,” Golden Bears coach Ashley Kosolowsky said.

“It was a really good opportunity for us to go up against some really strong teams in the province and build up our skills. You can always learn from playing against the best teams.”

The Golden Bears lost their round-robin contests to Birch Hills and Wadena, who both advanced to this weekend’s provincials from the East Regional along with Tisdale and Saskatoon Christian.

The 2019 campaign was one of improvement for the Golden Bears, as they took part in three tournaments during the campaign and also hosted a conference tournament earlier this month.

“One of the biggest things that I noticed was the overall team morale that we had all year,” Kosolowsky said. “Since our team doesn’t have a lot of players, we really rely on one another for support.

“We also had a number of young guys and new faces to volleyball on our roster this season, and I thought they did a great job of learning the skills that are needed for high school volleyball.”

The Golden Bears are expected to have the majority of this year’s squad return for the 2020 campaign, as they’ll only lose Michael Naytowhow-Leboeuf, KC Moostoos and Brandon Sayese to graduation.

“It’s always tough to say goodbye to players like them, but we had quite a few guys that can carry the load for us,” Kosolowsky said.

“Plus, since we have a lot of players who have more experience under their belts, I’m sure they’ll be able to help our new players fit in and make them feel like part of our team.”