Both St. Mary Marauder senior volleyball teams are hoping to make noise in regional tournaments this coming weekend.
St. Mary will host the Boys’ 5A North Regional tournament this weekend and the Marauder boys are hoping to build off the momentum they gained after a four-set win over the Carlton Crusaders in the city final last week.
Marauder boys head coach Rene Quintal says St. Mary will look to use the home court to their advantage.
“It’s been a goal of ours this year to have a chance to host at our home court. We’re able to play in front of friends and family and play in a gym we’re familiar with.
The Marauder boys are coming off a win in their home tournament this past weekend and a victory in the city final over Carlton last week.
Quintal says the recent results show St. Mary can compete despite their lack of size.
“I think we can compete as a small defensive team against bigger athletic teams. I thought at the City Final we did a really good job slowing down the height of their attack and we did a good job controlling their aggressive serving.”
The Marauder boys will kick off their regional schedule at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night when they take on North Battleford Comprehensive.
Quintal says the Marauders will be ready to face any opponent if they play up to their potential.
“We need to be able to limit errors. I thought this past weekend at our second home tournament, we did a really good job reducing errors. We just need to be able to keep the ball for floor and continue rallies and just make really good decisions at the net when we’re seeing a two- or three-person block.”
The Marauder boys feature a young lineup with only three Grade 12 players on the roster, including middle Carson McGregor.
McGregor says he is hoping the Marauders play well at regionals to earn a berth in provincials in his final season of high school volleyball.
“It’s special. It’s probably my last few weekends of volleyball. To go out and do good at regionals and provincials would be a pretty great feeling. Especially playing at home, it’ll be even better.”
The Marauder girls already have their spot secured in the 5A Girls provincial tournament as they are serving as the host team for the event, but there is still plenty to play for at the regional tournament at Lloydminster Comprehensive this weekend.
Head coach Shaun Hunko says St. Mary is taking things one game at a time, despite knowing they will be playing in provincials.
“It can be easy to look ahead, but for the last couple years, we’ve really put a premium on just focusing on the present and staying in the moment. Our girls know the importance of regionals, we still want to earn our way there, just like everybody else.”
It’s been a successful campaign for the Marauder girls so far this season. St. Mary took home a bronze medal at the David Pysyk Memorial Tournament in Spruce Grove, Alberta. It is the first time the Marauder girls have ever medaled in that tournament.
St. Mary also took home at the gold medal at the Mustang Volley tournament for the first time since 1995.
Hunko says the Marauders have worked as a team all season long, which has led to success.
“We’re not selfish. We have many players that are playing different roles. That would probably be the biggest thing. Sometimes it’s more about the intangibles and not so much about skill. We have 13 good people on our team. I think that’s the proudest thing about this group.”
The Marauder girls have veteran presence up and down the lineup as they have seven Grade 12 players on their roster this season.
Hunko says the graduating group of Marauders have gone through thick and thin together.
“Seven Grade 12s who have a big impact on the team. They’ve been in so many situations in the last two to three years. It’s the ideal makeup of a team that you want come playoff time.”
One of the graduating players for the Marauders is Heidi Regnier.
She says she feels close with her fellow graduating players since they have spent so many hours on the court together.
“Seven of us have been together ever since grade 10, which was two years ago. I think it’s really beneficial because we’ve been playing together pretty much every day from September to November.”
The Marauder girls kick off regional play on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Carlton at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School.