It was an up and down night for the senior volleyball clubs at St. Augustine Catholic School.
Lacombe’s Central Alberta Catholic High School (CACHS) came to Ponoka Sept. 14 and the St. Augustine Queens senior girls squad was in tough, but would eventually conquer their opposition three sets to two in the best-of-five match, defeating CACHS 15-12 in the deciding set.
Much of the match was back and forth, both on the court with several lengthy rallies featuring great blocks and digs and on the scoreboard.
Queens head coach Darren Josephison knew his squad would be in tough this season, having lost seven players to graduation after having a young club last season.
“We returned seven players and have three new Grade 10s on the team,” he said, adding them along with CACHS, Rimbey and St. Dominic in Rocky Mountain House having been the top four teams in the league for the last few years.
“We were in first place (for) three years, but slipped to fourth last year being so young. This year, we expect to get back into the top three. We have three really good hitters and expect our tall Grade 10 middle player Searra Schoepfner to become a dominant hitter as the season progresses and she develops better chemistry with the setters.”
He added maturing as a club will be key to succeeding, and being among the three squads that will make the zone playoffs and play for a provincial championship berth.
“We anticipated that CACHS would be younger and probably fourth this year, but they obviously played us very tough. Last year, our core was Grade 10 and this year it’s 10 and 11, so if they can show the maturity of our Grade 12s then we will be in good shape. Both St. Dominic and Rimbey are more experienced and have stronger hitting,” Josephison explained.
“We have played both so far at tournaments and split with each of them. So, it’s a very competitive league, the results at the recent 24-team Camrose tournament showed where St. Doms, Rimbey and us finished first, second and third respectively. The other two teams in our league, Pigeon Lake and David Thompson, are also quite capable of beating any one of us.”
He also stated his team’s defense is strong, with much of that strength coming from three players. However, the entire squad needs to be more determined and work harder defending while also having his club’s hitters able to vary their attacks, giving different looks in order to throw off their opponents.
As for the Kings senior boys squad, head coach Justin Florean explained nearly his entire team has returned for this season, though last Wednesday was the first time they saw action this season and fell in three straight sets to CACHS.
The two senior squads are back in action on their home floor tonight (Wednesday) against Pigeon Lake. Meanwhile, the two St. Augustine junior girls volleyball clubs were in action at a tournament at Red Deer College over the weekend. The Queens Thunder ended up second after round robin pool play then lost in the opening round of the playoffs, while the Queens Lightning ended up third in a strong pool before going on to win the consolation side by beating Lacombe Christian, Red Deer’s Hunting Hills and Lindsay Thurber of Red Deer in the final.