Lisa BARCLAY was on fire Wednesday at the Investors Group Athletic Centre as she powered No. 1-seed Crocus Plains Plainsmen to a 3-0 (26-24, 28-26, 28-26) victory over No. 4 St. Mary's Academy Flames in a Boston Pizza AAAA provincial varsity girls volleyball semifinal.
Virtually picking apart the left side, with precision setting from Mary Thomson, the 6-foot-2 power hitter was too much for the Flames to control as the defending champions from Brandon defeated a gritty St. Mary's squad making its first-ever appearance in the Final Four. Crocus Plains has won the title three times, including back-to-back titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
The Plainsmen will play No. 2 Vincent Massey Trojans in the final Monday. The Trojans rode the left- side power of Alex Kibsey to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 27-25) victory over the Westwood Warriors in the other semifinal Wednesday night.
"It was really good tonight," said the 5-foot-8 Kibsey. "My setter, Christina Souza, was really on tonight. Everyone was really good, and it showed. It was a fantastic game and I enjoyed every minute of it."
Barclay explained her strategy in the Crocus Plains win. "I was just really trying to avoid their (6-foot-4) middle blocker Alicia (Ogoms), so each way they cut around her -- that was my plan. I love to get the ball in those kinds of situations. It feels so good."
Crocus Plains coach Trista Wenger said the whole team came together to get the win, adding, "Sam Hutcheson stepped up for the right side for us and put away some blocks when we really needed them."
Regarding Barclay, Wenger said, "She just does a great job for us. She is a very confident player, she has the experience, and it really shows in a game like this."
"I am so proud of the girls," said Massey coach Jocelyn Duncan. "It shows a lot of character sometimes to fight from behind (they were down five in the final match) and come back to win the game.
"Alex leaves it all on the court," the coach continued. "She leads this team physically and emotionally and we couldn't have done it without her."
No one would predict the outcome of Monday's final.
"If we play our game, it'll be a good one," Kibsey said. "We're both great teams."
Said Barclay: "We're still nervous, for sure, because every game is a new game. We'll work really hard on the weekend and hopefully we'll repeat as champions."
Semifinal action continues today when the varsity boys take over centre court at the IGAC. The 6 p.m., game has No. 1 Dakota Lancers playing No. 4 River East Kodiaks. At 8 p.m., defending champion No. 2-seed Miles Macdonell Buckeyes play No. 3 Mennonite Brethren Hawks for the chance to win their 12th championship.
The championship finals are Monday at the IGAC. The girls' final goes at 6 p.m. and the boys' at 8 p.m.