Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Spartans, Hawks redux

Neelin, MBCI girls will battle for title again

  • Print

Last year, the Neelin Spartans varsity girls volleyball squad rode out the snowy roads to Winnipeg from Brandon, and when they returned, it was as provincial champions.

Now, the girls from Manitoba's western edge have a chance to repeat the feat: they will face their old foes, the Mennonite Brethren Hawks, in a championship rematch at 6 p.m. Monday.

Both teams punched their ticket to the final with confident semifinal wins at Investors Group Athletic Centre on Wednesday night, as the Spartans dispatched the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes and the Hawks surged past the Westwood Warriors.

That sealed a rematch of the 2012 championship.

"I know that we're kind of the outsiders, and they're like 'Oh, here comes the Brandon girls,'" said Spartans middle hitter Paige Thomson, who was named team MVP of the semifinal win. "We've been playing against these girls ever since we were in Grade 8, and all the way up. I think it's been really beneficial to our school to have us be at this level. It's just an honour to be here."

To get there, the Spartans first had to battle past the third-seeded Buckeyes in three sets, claiming each 25-13, 25-19 and 25-19 to win the match. They looked confident, but of course, they've been through this before.

"We took some things away, and I was real happy with our team," coach Kevin Neufeld said.

"We just have more offensive weapons, and once we got the ball under control a little better, we were able to have a little more ability to terminate."

The Hawks sealed their pass to the final with a convincing semifinal win over the Warriors, taking the match in three sets: 25-22, 25-18 and 25-19. Left side Tyneille Neufeld was named the player of the game for the Warriors, while Hawks Grade 11 setter Maiya Westwood was named MVP for the winning side.

Hawks coach Angela Diboll thought her players were, perhaps, sometimes scattered in their focus; she'll work that out this week in practice.

"I thought we played well," Diboll said. "I think the biggest thing for us right now is... a game isn't just played in one points, or three points, it's played in an hour or longer. The girls need to not let their emotions get the better of them."

That will be a special challenge, with the finals looming large on the horizon.

The Hawks knew they could get there, of course.

There were no real upsets in the girls' playoff bracket this year, and the final matchup shook out as the season standings suggested it might: the top-ranked Hawks, the No. 2 Spartans, with one last battle to decide who wins it all.

Last year, the championship stretched to four exhausting sets and the Spartans triumphed in the end. This time around, the Hawks will be hunting for redemption.

"We'd love to get another shot at them," Diboll said. "They're a really strong team. And I think between us, it's going to be a big serving battle, and again, who can stay focused for a long period of time."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 28, 2013 D6

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


Winnipeg Jet goalie Michael Hutchinson

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think Ray Rice should be given a lifetime ban from the NFL?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google