Eight teams… two titles… one shot at glory.
The AAAA High School Volleyball Championships are down to the Final Four in both girls and boys’ play, with semi-final action opening Wednesday night at the University of Winnipeg’s Duckworth Centre.
The semis open Wednesday with the girls’ action, featuring the second-ranked Neelin Spartans against the Glenlawn Lions, ranked third, at 6 p.m. followed by top-seeded Mennonite Brethren Hawks vs. the fifth-ranked Miles Macdonell Buckeyes at 8 p.m. On Thursday, the boys’ semi-finals open with top-ranked Mennonite Brethren facing St. Paul’s Crusdaders, ranked fourth, at 6 p.m. and the second-ranked Lord Selkirk Royals meeting third-ranked Miles Macdonell at 8 p.m.
"Part of our success is the players are super dedicated and committed to the sport," said Mennonite Brethren girls’ assistant coach Angela Wiebe Tuesday at a press conference. " We’ve had 100 per cent attendance at practice and they’ve worked really hard to come to where they are. The main thing we saw right away was the camaraderie of the team. The ‘team’ aspect is the most-important thing and seeing how close they are on and off the court has really helped a lot."
With both the girls and boys’ teams from MBCI ranked first, the atmosphere has been buzzing at the school.
"Over the years we’ve had a lot of solid teams come out of MBCI and this is another special group," said Hawks’ boys’ head coach Brian Plett. "Our team this year is divided between a Grade 12 group and a Grade 11 group. This Grade 12 group is extremely athletic, very big and very physical. They’ve been been together for awhile and are all products of our MBCI middle years program and many of them have played provincial team and club together. It’s a really nice unit. They enjoy each other and they enjoy competing."
The championship finals are set for Monday, also at the Duckworth Centre, with the girls opening at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 8 p.m. Both matches will be televised live on Shaw Cable.
The provincial A, AA and AAA championships are also taking place this weekend, beginning Thursday with 60 teams seeking six titles.