Crusaders and Marauders boys’ volleyball teams entering homestretch

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Aden Sinoski watches his shot during the home tournament for the Carlton Crusaders boys’ volleyball team earlier this month.

With the 5A SHSAA regional tournament taking place next weekend, the Carlton Crusaders and St. Mary Marauders boys’ volleyball teams are making sure that they are prepared for anything in their quest to make the provincial championships later this month in Regina.

“I think the big thing at this part of the season is consistency,” Crusaders head coach Curtis Bender said. “It’s a long year with tournaments and sometimes you have to work through injuries, so when you are playing a team that you have may have seen a couple of times already, you have to make sure that you are staying competitive or you’ll fall into bad habits.”

The Marauders, who are hosting a mini-tournament this weekend, are riding a wave of momentum after capturing the city title in straight sets over the Crusaders on Wednesday.

They also defeated the Meadow Lake Carpenter Spartans in a tournament at Carlton two weeks ago.

“I’m not sure if we executed as well in that tournament as we had in other events this year, but our defence did a great job of leading the way and we got contributions from all over our lineup,” Marauders head coach Rene Quintal said.

“Another highlight for us was a runner-up finish earlier this season in Spruce Grove as we played really well against the top teams from Alberta.”

Meanwhile, the Crusaders are coming off of a fourth place showing in their home tournament and a runner-up finish in an event that was hosted by the Mount Royal Mustangs in Saskatoon last weekend.

“I’ve definitely seen the jump in our play from the start of the season,” Bender said. “We’re a lot more structured, we’re hitting the floor on defence and there’s a lot more intensity to our game.

“When we are engaged, I think we’re a tough team to beat.”

The Crusaders will serve as the host team for next weekend’s regionals, which will also include the Marauders, North Battleford Vikings, Warman Wolverines and the Lloydminster Barons.

The top two teams will advance to the provincials in Regina from Nov. 15-16.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders’ and Marauders’ girls programs will also be taking part in St. Mary’s mini-tournament this weekend ahead of their 5A regional tournament in Lloydminster, which will see two schools advance to the provincials in Weyburn last this month.

The two sides squared off in the city final on Tuesday, which the Crusaders won in five sets.