The St. Mary Marauders are city champs after defeating the Carlton Crusaders in straight sets in Sr. Girls volleyball on Wednesday.
Heidi Regnier led the way for St. Mary with 10 kills, as the Marauders downed the Crusaders 25-13, 25-9, 25-20. Marauders head coach Shaun Hunko said St. Mary excelled at the basics on Wednesday, and that allowed them to be successful.
“Volleyball can be simplified into two major skills: serving and passing. I thought we did both of those very well tonight, which allowed us to run our offence and terminate the ball,” Hunko said. “I’m just really happy with our performance tonight.”
The Marauders retained their city title after being Carlton in straight sets last year too. Setter and team captain Cassidy Schrader said communication and mental toughness was the key to this year’s victory.
“I think we just talked lots on the court which helped us stay together as a team,” Schrader said. “We didn’t get our energy down. We just continued to push through even when the score was getting close.”
“I thought we executed and we didn’t let any of the outside noise get to us,” added outside hitter Sydney Batiuk, who had seven kills and seven aces in the Marauders win. “We did what we had to do and we did it in a very calm manner.”
St. Mary jumped out to big early leads in the first two sets before cruising to victory, however the Crusaders rallied to make things close in set three. The Crusaders were just two points behind the Marauders, trailing 21-19, before St. Mary pulled away for the 25-20 win.
Carlton head coach Tori Glynn said Wednesday’s match was a good test that will help the team build towards the regional tournament in Lloydminster on Nov. 10-11.
“I think we had some moments where we were nervous, but this is always a great opportunity to play in a high-pressure game,” Glynn said. “I think we started to work some things out at the end. Ultimately, our goal is to progress towards regionals, so I think there were some positives to take away from this game.”
The Marauders also hoped to use Wednesday’s game as a springboard for future success. The squad is off this weekend, but returns to the court Nov. 3-4 when they host their home tournament, followed by regionals in Lloydminster the weekend after.
The big test will come on Nov. 17-18 when the Marauders host provincials in Prince Albert. Hunko and his squad said hosting the tournament hasn’t added any pressure. If anything, it’s only made them more excited.
“I think it’s more of a comfort thing for them, sleep in your own bed, that type of thing,” he said. “Lots of friends and family and their peers are able to watch them, which often doesn’t happen throughout the year because they’re always travelling outside the city.”
“I’m not feeling pressure. I’m feeling really excited,” Batiuk added. “Home crowd. Home (court) advantage. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Crusaders are on the road this weekend. They’ll head to Regina for a tournament at Leboldus Catholic High School before returning to Prince Albert for the St. Mary Sr. Boys and Girls tournament on Nov. 3-4.