Crusaders volleyball squads embrace opportunity at Spruce Grove tournament

The Carlton Crusaders are ready for the 2022 David Pysyk Memorial Tournament this weekend. Photo by Nathan Reiter

It’s been a long two years without the ability to travel, but the Carlton Crusaders volleyball program is ready to showcase their talents in Alberta.

The Crusaders will be off to Spruce Grove for the 2022 David Pysyk Memorial tournament. 

Crusaders girls volleyball head coach Brooke Dallyn says she is excited for the team, even though she won’t make the trip herself.

“It’s really awesome for us to finally get that opportunity. The biggest thing for those tournaments where you travel so far and stay in hotels. The team chemistry, you get to bond so much with your team. Hopefully they have a lot of fun and be competitive while you are there.”

With Spruce Grove right on the doorstep of several college programs including the University of Alberta and NAIT, there will be several scouts from collegiate programs in attendance at the tournament. Dallyn says the Crusader girls will be ready to showcase their talents to potential recruiters.

“We have been told there will be college scouts at the tournament. I think the girls just knowing that, they will step up their game and show what they have to offer both Alberta and Saskatchewan teams.”

For some on the Crusaders girls team, it’s been a long time since they were last able to make the trip. Maya Soles, a grade 12 player with Carlton, got the chance to travel during her Grade 9 year. She says she is excited to be a mentor to younger players this time around.

“I went in grade 9, and it was lots of fun playing with the older girls. I think having younger girls on our team to play with us in my last year will be great.”

Soles adds that the opportunity to interact with teammates off the court will be vital to the Crusaders success down the road.

“It’s important to stick together as a team and bond because it’s very important on the court to trust each other and have each other’s back. I think sticking together for 6 hours (to Edmonton) will help us with that.”

The Carlton Crusaders girls will compete in Pool H of the tournament. They will play against Chinook (Lethbridge, AB), Langley Christian (Langley, BC), Notre Dame (Red Deer, AB), Salisbury (Sherwood PArk, AB) and Ross Sheppard (Edmonton, AB) 

The Crusader girls will begin the tournament at 9am on Friday against Langley Christian.


The Carlton Crusaders boys team is also making the journey to Alberta. 

Carlton boys volleyball head coach Curtis Bender says the tournament is very prestigious with top teams coming from across western Canada to compete. He says it’s a great chance to evaluate where the program is at.

“It’s gonna be interesting, it’s going to be fun. Spruce Grove is known for having the top teams in western Canada. It’s always a good measuring stick to see where you fall, and I know they are looking forward to it.”

Jaymon Mitchell is in his grade 12 season with the Crusaders. He says he is looking forward to playing after making the trip as a grade 9 player.

“In grade 9, we got to go as a team and it was really fun. I didn’t really get to play because I was so young. Now that I’m older, I’m just really excited to go and we got a great group of guys.”

The tournament provides more than just a chance for Carlton to evaluate where the team is at, but a chance for players to potentially get an opportunity at the next level. Bender says there’s always players who fall under the radar that get noticed in the Spruce Grove tournament.

“They mentioned to us when we filled in our roster, there would be scouts from across western Canada. A big chunk (of scouting) is done during club season, but some guys don’t get the chance to play club. It’s an eye opener and it puts them on the map. It’s not just your top end universities (that are there), but also college teams. There’s a lot of times where guys are overlooked, but they’re really skilled but just undersized. It’s very important if they want to take that next step.”

The Crusader boys are competing in Pool A of the tournament and will square off with Langley Christian (Langley, BC), Archbishop O’Leary (Edmonton, AB), Salisbury HS (Sherwood Park, AB), Notre Dame HS (Red Deer, AB) and Western Canada HS (Calgary, AB)

The Crusader boys begin the tournament on Friday at 10:15 am against Langley Christian.