The St. Mary Marauders secured the boys volleyball city title with a four set win over the Carlton Crusaders at Carlton’s CPAC gymnasium on Monday night.
Marauder head coach Rene Quintal says St. Mary had to work hard for the victory.
“That’s a very well coached and very athletic volleyball team. Any point we got, we had to earn it. They put a ton of pressure on our team from the service line. The amount of balls we had to pass in the service reception was more than normal with the velocity, so we really had to struggle with the score points on our side all game.”
On the other side, Crusader head coach Curtis Painter was happy with the resolve his team showed, despite the final result.
“It was good. I thought we were a little bit tight there to start, it was a great atmosphere. I thought we battled there towards the end which was really nice to see.”
St. Mary would take the first two sets of the match by scores of 25-16 and 25-20.
Carlton would extend the match by taking the third set by a score of 25-21.
Painter says Carlton was able to settle into the game starting in the third set.
“(We) just limited our mistakes. The first couple sets, we gave them quite a few points just off of a little bit of miscommunication, a little bit of nerves. But after we kind of got rolling there a little bit, we were fine.”
St. Mary would rebound and take the fourth set 25-20 and the match three sets to one.
Carlton will be the host team for the 2023 5A Boys provincial championship later this month. Painter says the Crusaders are trending in the right direction, but still have some areas to improve on before the tournament.
“I think we just got to clean up a little bit defensively. There are some things that we’ve been working on that I didn’t think we quite executed the way we should. If we get that cleaned up, we’ll be fine.”
The bleachers at Carlton’s CPAC gymnasium were nearly at capacity and both the Marauder and Crusader Sr. Girls teams were on the sidelines cheering for their respective schools, providing a great competitive atmosphere.
Painter says the atmosphere for the game was second to none.
“It’s the best, you can’t beat it. It always brings out the best in both squads and you got to love it. Win or lose, it’s awesome, it’s just great for volleyball in general.”
Quintal echoed Painter’s sentiment about the crowd and that he was extremely pleased with how the young Marauders performed in front of the crowd.
“It’s always fun to play in the city final. Prince Albert’s a really good volleyball community and everybody waits for two nights a year to come out and watch. We have a really young team with nine Grade 11s and one Grade 10. I thought we played really well under the pressure.”