Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Flames close in on crown

St. Mary's downs Lions, will face Crocus Plains in championship

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Their dads showed up in plaid skirts, ties and wearing sparkly wigs in support of their daughters and the top-seeded St. Mary's Flames varsity girls volleyball team made the most of the moment.

Though the No. 4-seed Glenlawn Lions gave the Flames a battle, the St. Mary's team defeated Glenlawn 25-17, 19-25, 25-13, 25-14 on Wednesday in the second semifinal of the Manitoba High School Athletic Association's 2011 Boston Pizza AAAA High School Volleyball Provincial Championships at the University of Manitoba Investors Group Athletic Centre.

The Flames will go after the school's first AAAA volleyball title when they meet Brandon's Crocus Plains Plainsmen in the girls championship final on Monday at 6 p.m.

"We've made it here (Final Four) for three years and we lost out every time until now so we're just so excited to have this chance," said St. Mary's middle Chelsea Jones, named her team's player of the game. Glenlawn's player of the game was Malorie Kurtenbach. "We've played Crocus and we have won (twice) but that doesn't mean anything now. We have to bring our A-game on Monday."

The No. 3-seeded Crocus Plains team, which also lost in last year's semifinals, upset the second-seeded Miles Macdonell Buckeyes in the first semifinal match 16-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-23.

"We played our game today and for the girls who lost last year, it's just the best feeling in the world for us," said Crocus Plains left-side Mary Thomson, her team's player of the game. "Our team's chemistry has grown so much this season and Monday we're going to be ready to go out there and make things happen."

In the Crocus Plains-Miles Mac match, the difference was setter Hope Schneider who distributed the ball spot-on all night to outside hitters Thomson, Brittany Wiebe and Zoe Pellerin and middle Courtney Roberts, leaving the Buckeyes scrambling to defend.

"Hope does a great job in creating opportunities for our attackers to score one-on-one, she gets the ball to people we know can score," said Plainsmen coach Trista Wenger. "We definitely came out flat in that first set but I'm so proud of our girls for being mentally tough enough to get back in the match."

The highlight for the Buckeyes was the play of Grade 12 left-side Kendra Bommersbach, the Buckeyes' player of the game, who led the team in kills in the first set and served seven straight points to start the fourth set. Buckeyes' 6-1 middle Ashley Goodwin, also a Grade 12 player, was a formidable force in the front row.

"We started off really strong and we got into a bit of a mental funk where we struggled with our passing and we couldn't really run anything (offence) and against a strong team like Crocus, you have to run something to be able to score," said Miles Mac coach Nadia Melon.

In the St. Mary's-Glenlawn game, the Flames were led by Jones and middle Alicia Ogoms, who was also on of her team's best passers.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

The road to provincial titles

2011 Boston Pizza AAAA High School Volleyball Provincial Championship at the University of Manitoba Investors Group Athletic Centre

WEDNESDAY'S SCORES

Girls semifinals

Crocus Plains Plainsmen (3) def. Miles Macdonell Buckeyes (2) 16-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-23

St. Mary's Flames (1) def. Glenlawn Lions (4) 25-17, 19-25, 25-13, 25-14

TODAY'S GAMES

Boys semifinals

Miles Macdonell Buckeyes (1) vs. Lord Selkirk Royals (5), 6 p.m.

Mennonite Brethren Hawks (2) vs. St. Paul's Crusaders (3), 8 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 28 (live on Shaw TV)

Girls championship final 6 p.m.

Boys championship final 8 p.m.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 24, 2011 C10

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