Twenty-four of the province’s top under-18 female volleyball clubs made their way to Yorkton to take part in the first of two 2014 18U Women’s Subway Sask. Cup events.
The tournament, which took place in the Flexihall, Gloria Hayden Centre and M.C. Knoll/St. Michael’s gymnasiums, also saw three local teams battle for court supremacy.
And while it may not have been a completely successful 18U Women’s Subway Sask. Cup event for the trio of Yorkton based 18U teams, they certainly enjoyed, and learned, from the experience.
The Yorkton McSweeney’s Selects had a good start to their tournament, defeating Moose Jaw VC 25-17, 25-19 before handing the Parkland Pounders a loss in straight sets, 25-22, 25-11.
The Selects continued their round-robin dominance, defeating the Saskatoon BCV Impulse in straight sets to finish first in their pool.
The McSweeney’s Selects were bested by the Wala Xtreme in a crossover game sending them to tier two, where they once again lost, this time to the Prince Albert En Fuego.
The Selects got back to their winning ways with a straight sets victory over Martensville Outer Limits which allowed them to clinch 13th place in the 24 team tournament.
The 13th place finish, while not what head coach Brent Brown was looking for, still provided his team with a chance to see where they need to improve before they attend a 150 team tournament in Las Vegas in two weeks’ time. “We are working on a few things. We were a little inconsistent. There were some games where we played very well and then others where we had some mental errors and some breakdowns,” said Brown. “We wanted to identify the areas where we need work. Now in practices we’ll go and work hard on those specific areas and hopefully end up with better results at the end of the year and more specifically in a few weeks when we are down in Vegas.”
The Yorkton Blitz volleyball team had a rough start to their 2014 season.
The Blitz struggled on day one resulting in a spot in the tier three playoffs; A spot where, according to Blitz coach Darlene Shymanski, the team should not have been. “We as coaches as well as the girls knew that tier three is not where we should probably be playing,” mentioned Shymanski following her teams’ straight sets victory over Saskatoon BCV Impulse to win tier three gold. “But with a shortage of girls on the bench yesterday and some injuries we simply missed the wrong crossover game as far as winning.
“When we were sent down to play tier three ball we simply said to the girls that “if we are going to be in this tier we are going to take it home hard” and that’s what we accomplished with the gold medals. I think the girls now know what is expected of them.”
Shymanski also mentioned that she has a very young team with just two players playing in ther correct age group. “. We only have two 18 year olds on the team and the rest are all grade 11’s so for them I think this was a big challenge. The speed of the game and some of the harder hits are not what they are used to but they definitely stepped up to the game this weekend.”
The Parkland Pounders might not have been the youngest team at the tournament, but they were definitely in the top three.
And while their youth showed in the fact that they never won a game (they finished 24th out of 24 teams), they still showed that they were willing to compete. Something that head coach Jimmy Mak noticed throughout the tournament. “We are one of the youngest teams here at this tournament with all of our girls being U-17 age in a U-18 tournament,” said Mak. “However there was a lot of improvement today as opposed to yesterday and I think the girls know that as well.”
One area that Mak feels his team needs to really work on, however, is communication. “The girls didn’t talk that much during their games and that’s something they need to work on. Other teams are yelling and talking, but we didn’t make much noise.”
All in all the three coaches feel that their respective teams put forth their best effort and while there are certainly areas that each team needs to work on, they are all headed in the right direction.