The 5A Girls and Boys volleyball regionals tip off this coming weekend and the Carlton Crusaders are hoping to make some noise.
The Carlton girls will travel to Lloydminster looking to punch their ticket to provincials.
Head coach Tori Glynn says the Crusaders have had their fair share of learning experiences throughout the season, but she feels Carlton is in a good spot to play their best volleyball of the season with a spot in provincials on the line.
“It’s been a really fun season. We’ve definitely had some things that we had to learn and grow through, and we’ve had some ups and we’ve had some downs, but I’m really excited for this group to have this experience. I think that we’re all in a good spot right now to go out and play the game the way that we want to play it.
“I’m really proud of the girls for sticking with our systems and committing to that overall team goal and being selfless that way. I’m hoping that we’re able to implement that idea of working as a team and trying to play to our highest potential at regionals here.”
Throughout the season, Glynn says the Crusader girls have become a better defending team and have been very receptive to the coaching staff.
“Back in September, we’ve really been working on our defensive systems, and that’s something that we’ve seen improvement in. That whole idea of game planning and implementing a game plan, I’ve seen them grow throughout the season in that aspect as well.”
Madelyn Tomyn is one of five Grade 12 players on the Crusaders this season. Tomyn says she is excited for the regional tournament because every player on Carlton brings their own strengths that benefit the team as a whole.
“Honestly, our strengths lie within all of our players. Everyone has their strongest attributes that they give to the team. We got our passing, our setting, obviously, and our hitting. Everyone has a component of the game that really adds to the team. But honestly, I think our service team has been really decent all season and I’m looking forward for it to be good this weekend too.”
Tomyn adds she is excited for the young Crusaders team to play at regionals and for the younger players on the team to gain experience.
“I want the girls to see what it’s like playing at this level and get them hyped up for their next season because they’re going to be a little bit older, a little bit more experienced and I think that they will be stronger by the end of this and their own club volleyball season.”
The Crusaders girls open regional play at 3:30 p.m. on Friday against Lloydminster.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing at times this season for the Carlton boys’ volleyball team.
Crusader head coach Curtis Painter says Carlton is prepared for any adversity they will face at the regional tournament because they have seen their fair share of injuries this season.
“You get to see different guys perform in different situations. If you do come up with an injury, we’ve been there. We’ve had four or five guys out, and so you just try different things, and we feel comfortable with every lineup that we’re not going to be shell shocked. Some teams aren’t prepared for that, but we’ve been through the gauntlet this year. We’ve kind of had a good chuckle about it because some of the stuff that we’ve been through has just been crazy.”
Kaleb Willie is in his Grade 12 season for the Crusaders and primarily plays on the left side. He says the Crusaders have taken the adversity caused by injuries in stride.
“We have multiple looks to throw at other teams. We can throw in different players in any position. We’re all really used to adapting throughout the year so we can do whatever. We’ve had ankle injuries, we’ve had players sick, everything. Someone’s always there to fill in that spot. We’re really deep this year.”
The 5A Boys regional will be hosted by St. Mary this year. Painter says the Crusaders will need to stick to the basics and not let the game get away from them to find success in the regional tournament.
“Physically, I think we’re there with anybody in the province. If we can take care of the ball on our own side and make the simple plays, that will be massive because we are a big, physical team, and if we can just take care of the ball and not let it hit the floor, not make those simple mistakes and just pass well and serve well, I think we’ll be fine.”
The Crusader boys are serving as the host team for the 5A Boys Provincial championship from Nov. 17-18. Although they have a spot secured at provincials, Painter says the Crusaders want to gain momentum going into the tournament.
“It’s great that we’re going, but you always want to earn it. Seeding plays a big part as well, too. The higher seed we can get, the better that will set us up at provincials. There’s still a lot to play for. If we don’t go in with good habits and playing well, it’s hard to just kind of pick it up. You want to build those good habits and you want to be playing your best volleyball at this time of the year.”
The Crusader boys kick off the regional tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night against Lloydminster. The 5A Boys Regional tournament is being hosted at St. Mary.