WESTLOCK – St. Mary School’s (SMS) senior boys volleyball team is looking to keep their late-season hot streak going on the eve of the 1A zone championship tournament.
This coming weekend, Nov. 18-19, the Sharks will host the 1A North Central Zone Championship tournament at the Rotary Spirit Centre, with only the winner moving on to the 1A Alberta Schools’ Athletics Association 3A Volleyball Championships Nov. 24-26 at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Vegreville.
Coach Vance Nakonechny said the boys have rounded nicely into form, bringing home gold from a junior varsity tournament in Barrhead last month, while netting silver in Thorhild Nov. 4-5 and finishing in a tie for third-fourth at their home tourney Oct. 21-22. The club's first game at the zones is Friday at 5:15 p.m. when they'll face Calmar. Following they take on Jasper at 6:30 p.m., then square off versus Slave Lake at 11:15 a.m. Saturday — the gold and bronze medal games are slated for 3:30 p.m. that day.
“We’ve been on a good run lately. I’ve got a really hard-working bunch who’ve continued to show improvement throughout the year,” said Nakonechny. “At times we’ve looked tremendous and other times, we’ve been flat. The boys have to realize that they’re going to make errors, but it’s about being able to have a short memory and move on to the next point.”
Regardless of their result this coming weekend, Nakonechny is proud of how far they’ve come, especially considering they’ve only got two Grade 12s on the team.
“If we focus on playing our game and have fun doing it, we should be in the thick of the title hunt in the end. I feel if we pay attention to the process the results will take care of themselves,” said Nakonechny.
Meanwhile the senior girls will have to play a conference game today, Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Thorhild just to qualify for the zone tournament which goes Nov. 18-19 in Redwater, while the 1A provincials run Nov. 24-26 at Picture Butte High School.
The girls have had a good year so far, including a bronze-medal finish at the R.F. Staples junior variety tournament back in September and scored a tie for third-fourth at their home tournament last month.