The St. Paul’s Crusaders will face the Lord Selkirk Royals boys on Monday night for the province’s top high school volleyball crown, as both teams clawed past their opponents in semifinal action on Thursday night.
The Crusaders, who came into the playoffs as the top-ranked team, beat the fifth-seeded Miles Macdonell Buckeyes in a blistering four-set battle at the University of Manitoba’s Investors Group Centre, taking the semifinal with scores of 25-23, 23-25, 25-21 and 25-20.
Buckeyes left side Brendan Cairns was named MVP for his team, while setter Matthew Hooker earned that honour for the Crusaders.
Earlier in the evening, the second-seeded Lord Selkirk Royals knocked out the defending champion Mennonite Brethren Hawks in four sets. The Royals took the first two sets to take a commanding lead, but the Hawks battled back to take the third set 25-21. In the fourth set, the Hawks again pushed to keep the match alive, at one point surging up from a deficit to take a 21-19 lead. But the Royals dug deep to finish the game off, finally taking the fourth set 25-22.
Left side Brandon Sutherland was named player of the game for the Royals, while setter Luke Derksen was game MVP for the Hawks.
The Crusaders and Royals will now face off at 8 p.m. on Monday night for the AAAA provincial high school championship. The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with the girls final between the defending champion Neelin Spartans, from Brandon, and the Mennonite Brethren Hawks.