Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Royals, Crusaders roll into boys final

Sutherland, Hooker star in semifinals

  • Print

Whether the Lord Selkirk Royals or the St. Paul's Crusaders varsity boys claim Manitoba's AAAA high school volleyball crown, this is certain: There will be a new champ in town.

The Royals earned their berth to the playoffs by toppling the defending champion Mennonite Brethren Hawks at the Investors Group Athletic Centre Thursday night, right before the St. Paul's Crusaders clawed their way past the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes in four blistering sets. Neither game was a gimme. For awhile, it even looked like the Hawks might come screaming back from a two-set deficit, something they'd done to the Royals in big playoff games before.

"I had those thoughts in my mind, they've done it before," said Royals coach Jeff Scarcello after the victory. "We were fortunate to get by them... We hit our targets, we passed really well, and that allowed us to run our middle. We have a lot of weapons."

Now, the Crusaders and the Royals -- who came into the playoffs as first and second seed, respectively -- will face each other across the net in Monday night's final.

"I think it'll be a dogfight, I think even moreso," said St. Paul's coach Lloyd Voth. "I hope my guys are a little more settled and we turn it up another notch."

That could be a challenge after the Crusaders' electrifying semifinal battle. They hadn't played the Buckeyes through the season, so the teams met each other as relative unknowns and in the opening minutes of the first set, St. Paul's fell into an 8-3 hole. They stormed back, though, and eventually clinched the opener 25-23.

What followed was a veritable tug-of-war between the teams, as they swapped points and traded leads. The second set was tied as late as 22 points, before a bungled serve and an out-of-bounds hit by the Crusaders helped hand the set to the Buckeyes, 23-25. In the third frame, St. Paul's surged past an early deficit to lead through most of the set, and although the Buckeyes pushed back late, St. Paul's claimed it 25-21.

So it all came down to the fourth frame, a nail-biter again as the Miles Mac boys played for their lives. But the Crusaders pushed hard to close out the second half of the set, ramming ahead from a 15-16 deficit to take a commanding lead. Finally, a fiery kill shot from left-side hitter Tom Meier clinched the set 25-20 and, with that, the game. Setter Matthew Hooker was named MVP for the Crusaders, while blazing left side Brendan Cairns earned the honour for the Buckeyes.

For the Royals, who fell to the Hawks in last year's championship game, the semifinal was a chance to settle some old playoff scores. They opened the match firmly in control, as they took the first two frames 25-18 and 25-17. But the Hawks, partly riding a fine performance by setter Luke Derksen, surged back in the third to make it a fight. MBCI claimed the third set 21-25, then clawed their way back from a deficit to take a 19-21 lead in the fourth.

"They were playing good team volleyball," said Royals left side Brandon Sutherland, named team MVP for his efforts. "They switched some things up... we didn't adapt as quick as we wanted to. We really let their outside hitter take over the game a little bit, he got a lot of kills on us. It's tough when you let a player do that, especially in a high speed game like this."

The provincial AAAA high school boys' volleyball final is slated for 8 p.m. Monday at Investors Group Centre. The girls' final between Neelin and MBCI is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2013 C6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Cali For Jets Nation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Carolyn Kavanagh(10) had this large dragonfly land on her while spending time at Winnetka Lake, Ontario. photo by Andrea Kavanagh (mom0 show us your summer winnipeg free press

View More Gallery Photos


How do you think the Jets will do in the NHL playoffs?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google