By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
With the South Central Zone championships nearing, the Strathmore High School Spartan volleyball teams are rounding into shape.
Participating in the Kodiak Classic tournament in Airdrie last weekend, the senior boys Spartans walked away with the silver medal.
In a thrilling final, the Spartans fell to the George McDougall High School Mustangs in three sets, 2-1 Oct. 28.
“We played really well this weekend,” said Spartans Head Coach Cole Hintz. “In the final, there were a couple of points that didn’t go our way that could have easily went our way, but these things happen. I was happy with the results this weekend.”
In the semis, the Spartans swept the Springbank Community High School Phoenix 2-0, following their 2-1 quarterfinal victory over the Bishop Carroll High School Cardinals.
“Before the weekend, we talked as a team about where we have come as a team. We were accelerated to start the season and had to learn how to play as a team. Over the past few weekends, we have learned how to compete better. Now, we are getting to the point where we are learning how to win, and that’s a big step,” said Hintz. “It’s a big difference from being competitive and wanting to win every single point. We did an excellent job of wanting to win more this weekend.”
In the round robin, which was only played to a maximum of two sets, the Spartans tied the Mustangs 1-1 and swept the Father Lacombe High School Laser Nation 2-0.
Of course, this is all building towards the Alberta School’s Athletic Association provincials, which will take place in Strathmore Nov. 23-25. For the Spartans, they will take place in the provincial tournament after narrowly missing out last year. The school’s best finish came three years ago, when they placed third.
But before then, the Spartans will host their annual tournament Nov. 3 and 4 at the High School Gym.
On the girls side, the Spartans also turned in a productive and exhausting weekend in Sylvan Lake, the site of their provincial tournament.
In a day that began at 8:30 a.m., the Spartans left the court at 8:30 p.m., following their semifinal loss to the Rimbey High School Spartans 2-0 (21-25, 19-25).
“We fought hard, it was a long day and it was very encouraging to see girls come off the bench and step up,” said Spartans Head Coach Randy Moncks. “We battled and made it into the playoffs in a very good 3A tournament.”
Strathmore was forced into a one-game playoff following a three-way tie with the Lacombe Composite High School Rams and the Wetaskiwin Composite High School Sabres after they each finished 2-2 in the round robin.
The Rams won the tiebreaker in points for and against, leaving the Spartans and Sabres to compete in a one-game playoff, first-to-25 dash, which the Spartans won fairly easily 25-16.
In the quarters, the Spartans were paired up with the Holy Rosary High School Raiders. They got the better of their Catholic counterparts 2-1 (24-26, 25-21, 15-11).
“We’re really coming together as a team,” said Moncks. “We don’t have that one player who we can ride and can bail us out, but we have six, seven, eight different girls who can step out on the floor and contribute. When we work together, we can do some amazing things.”
In the round robin, the Spartans ended up in a log jam for third after downing the Delburne Centralized High School Trojans 2-0 (25-16, 25-14) and the Rams 2-0 (25-21, 25-16). They dropped matches to the Lacombe High School Laser Nation 2-0 (19-25, 18-25) and the Spartans 2-0 (19-25, 15-25).
The Strathmore girls team will also host their annual Spartan tournament Nov. 3 and 4 at the High School gym.
Games for the boys and kicks tip off at 2:15 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.