WESTLOCK – The St. Mary Sharks senior boys volleyball team swam to silver, while the senior girls bit into bronze at the Joe Nestorovich Memorial Tournament Oct. 22-23.
The boys started off with a strong showing through the round robin where they finished with an 8-2 record, filling them with confidence to move into playoffs.
In the semifinals against Neerlandia, the boys were neck-and-neck through the first and second set, winning one and losing the other, leaving their fate to be decided in the third. Down 14-10, the Sharks gritted their teeth and powered through, winning the set to advance to the finals.
But the run to gold ended in the final as Spruce Grove’s Living Waters, the club’s nemesis, sunk them two straight.
“It was the first tournament in almost a month so a little rust at the start, but they played better as the weekend progressed,” said boys coach Vance Nakonechny. “It was a great experience for all the players, they came together as a group and battled hard, especially in the playoffs.”
Meanwhile, the girls fought ferociously in the round robin, finishing with a 7-3 record to finish second before heading into playoffs.
The girls fell to Neerlandia in the semifinals which put them in the bronze medal match against Living Waters. Determined not to go home empty-handed, the girls swept Living Waters in two sets.
“Getting off to slow starts during games was our detriment this weekend. When we’re playing aggressive, we can hang with any team, but we had some lulls this weekend with too many mental mistakes,” said girls coach Ty Snell after celebrating the girls bronze victory.
In November the girls will go Boyle for a tournament, while the boys will head to Thorhild, then both with return home to host the 1A zone championships Nov. 19-20 at the RSC.
The SMS junior high boys also played this weekend at the R.F. Staples Invitational Volleyball Tournament, taking down Athabasca, Barrhead and RFS in the round robin to fish up first in their pool.
The boys earned a place in the finals by defeating St. Albert, then faced Neerlandia. After losing the first set 25-23, the Sharks bit back 25-23 in the second and 15-11 in the third.
The junior high girls placed fourth at the event, falling to Morinville in the quarterfinals.