It was a clean sweep at 5A regionals over the weekend for the St. Mary Marauders volleyball program with the both the Sr. Girls and Sr. Boys going undefeated on route to punching their ticket to provincials.
For the Marauder boys, they had to peak early in the day to pick up a couple of crucial wins that helped them punch their ticket to provincials in Swift Current this coming weekend.
Marauder head coach Rene Quintal says that the Marauders are not used to ramping up the intensity early in the day, but were able to get it done at Regionals.
“We were happy with the end results. We had to play our two toughest matches first thing in the morning. It was a little bit different for us, usually you try to peak at a tournament at the end of the day. We had to peak at 10 in the morning so it’s a little different than other competitions we’ve been to.”
St. Mary topped Carlton in three sets to start the day at 9AM followed by a win in straight sets over Lloydminister at 11AM.
Quintal says the first two wins were crucial because it allowed St. Mary to utilize their depth more throughout the day.
“It was good for us that we were able to play a few more players from our second side in our third and fourth matches. Just in case of a tie break situation, we had to win all our matches to guarantee our spot.”
St. Mary finished regionals a perfect 4-0 adding wins over North Battleford and Warman.
Quintal says the Marauders have shown improvement at preventing opponents from finishing rallies.
“Our spike defence did a good job, especially in the Carlton match. We extended some rallies and forced them to make some attack errors. We’ve improved on that in the last month.”
Carter Minier, a setter with the Marauders in his Grade 12 season says he feel that St. Mary is starting to play well at the right time.
“This weekend was good. We kind of got out mojo back. We got the job done beating some good teams and getting a good spot for provincials. I think we are starting to peak. We had some good tournaments at the start of the year, then we went through a slump. We’re definitely on a good foot going into this tournament.”
The Marauder Boys will open provincials on Friday at 1 p.m. against Regina Winston Knoll.
The Marauder Girls volleyball team will have to wait an additional week for provincials as they will hit the road to Regina Nov. 25-26.
Marauder girls volleyball head coach Shaun Hunko says that St. Mary handled the format of the tournament well.
“The format is unique in the sense that you just play everybody once and the two teams with the best record advance. We were basically stuck in the school all day. We do that every weekend at tournaments. You have to stay mentally focused because there are no playoffs. Every match, every set matters. You have to be mentally and physically ready.”
St. Mary opened regionals with a win in straight sets over Warman and Lloydminister before having to go to three sets against North Battleford. St. Mary finished with a perfect 4-0 record thanks to a win in straight sets over crosstown rival Carlton.
Hunko says the Marauders handled the basics well and have been able to respond to adversity all season long.
“Serving and passing is always so important. Those are the two most important parts of the game; we were able to do both of those quite well.
“I thought our ability to fight through some adversity during the day was critical. Teams can go on runs and that happened a couple times where we gave up a significant run of points, but we were able to close out the game at the end when we needed to. Being in a lot of competitive tournaments and facing some of the best teams in the province, we’ve been able to play through those tough moments.”
Grade 11 outside hitter Sydney Betiuk says the Marauders aren’t feeling too much pressure heading into provincials despite finishing with the top seed in the region.
“I think we’re coming along nicely. The next two weeks are just going to be polishing up on things we need to work on and I’m really excited for what this team can do. I don’t think there’s that much pressure on us because we haven’t won everything. I think there is more pressure on a Saskatoon team since they are known to win.”