July 3, 2020

Winnipeg
27° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Free Press

ABOVE THE FOLD

Subscribe

No clear favourite in girls high school volleyball championships

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/11/2018 (584 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s being called anybody's race between the four varsity girls teams remaining in the Boston Pizza AAAA Provincial High School Volleyball Championships.

Unlike previous years where there’s been a heavy favourite, there is no obvious leader of the pack this season, making for what should be an exciting finish to the 2018 campaign.

Of the final four, which includes the No. 1-ranked Mennonite Brethren Hawks, the Lord Selkirk Royals (2), the Portage Collegiate Saints (3) and the College Jeanne-Sauvé Olympiens (5), all have posted successful seasons. Each club also appears fairly confident as they prepare for their respective semifinal matchups Wednesday at Investors Group Athletic Centre on the University of Manitoba campus.

"The reality is the last four teams are all very competitive. I would certainly say that it’s not clear cut who is favoured," Hawks head coach Brian Plett said Tuesday. "If you look at each team: Portage has had a lot of success, they won the Westwood tournament; Selkirk, even though we had a lot of success against them during the year, they went into provincials ranked No. 2 because they’ve had a winning record against almost everybody else; and Sauve, had they had their full roster for most of the year they would have been very solid. So it’s fair to say that it’s been very close and we don’t think that it’s a forgone conclusion that we’re advancing. We’re going to have to play very well (Wednesday) night to win."

Look no further than the current situation facing the Hawks. Despite being a perfect 12-0 to pace the KPAC Tier 1 Division, not to mention a sparking 32-4 record when factoring in tournament play, they’ll have to get past a tough opponent in the Olympiens.

Lord Selkirk School Senior Girls Volleyball team players, from left: Asha Gurney, Olivia Weremy and Kyla Michalski.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Lord Selkirk School Senior Girls Volleyball team players, from left: Asha Gurney, Olivia Weremy and Kyla Michalski.

The Olympiens, who have a number of returning players from last year’s provincial championship team, also went unbeaten in the regular season, posting an 11-0 record to finish atop the SCAC Tier 1 Division. They’re also as healthy as they’ve been all year, with the return of a number of key players who missed notable time throughout the year.

"They have been our rival for the last couple of years now," said Hawks libero Victoria Duester. "It’s always an intense game and they’re a big challenge for us to make the finals."

The winner between the Hawks and Olympiens will face the winner of another close matchup between Lord Selkirk (43-7) and Portage Collegiate (35-10).

The Royals were 7-3 during the regular season but won four of the five tournaments they played in. The Saints look to avenge last year’s disappointing loss in the provincial final.

"Teams have been showing consistency and then inconsistencies in others, so I feel like (Wednesday) night, in any of the semifinals, that any team could come out ahead," Royals head coach Kyla Michalski said. "It just depends on who comes to perform."

On the boys side, many believe the finals will be contested between the St. Paul’s Crusaders and Dakota Lancers, the province’s first- and second-ranked teams, respectively. The Crusaders won just two of the six meetings between the two clubs this season but were given the top ranking because they edged the Lancers in the most recent match.

Isaiah Olfert, Grade 12 student at Dakota Collegiate, plays with the Dakota Lancers.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Isaiah Olfert, Grade 12 student at Dakota Collegiate, plays with the Dakota Lancers.

But as the Crusaders' (43-4) longtime coach Lloyd Voth insists, there is a ton of talent on the other two teams — the Steinbach Regional Sabres (3) and Lord Selkirk Royals (4) — and each will be a tough opponent en route to a shot at the provincial title. He warned that you shouldn’t look too far ahead of Thursday’s matchups, given how tight these four teams have played each other this year.

2018 Boston Pizza AAAA Provincial Volleyball Championships

Click to Expand

At Investors Group Athletic Centre

Varsity girls:

Semifinals (Wednesday)

Mennonite Brethren Hawks (1) vs. College Jeanne-Sauve Olympiens (5), 6 p.m.

Lord Selkirk Royals (2) vs. Portage Collegiate Saints (3), 8 p.m.

Final (Monday)

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

Varsity boys:

Semifinals (Thursday)

Dakota Lancers (2) vs. Steinbach Regional Sabres (3), 6 p.m.

St. Paul's Crusaders (1) vs. Lord Selkirk Royals (4), 8 p.m.

Final (Monday)

Semifinals winners, 8 p.m.

"We’ve played Steinbach and Selkirk a number of times this year and we’ve had close games against both of those teams. Both teams have very good players and are very well-coached, so getting past the semis will be certainly the first challenge," said Voth, whose Crusaders will be up against the Royals. "As for Dakota, they have some very strong players. (Left-side) Isaiah Olfert is maybe the best player in the province. They’re very well-coached by Phil Hudson, so you know they’re going to be very well-prepared."

The Lancers (47-4-1) have been one of the toughest teams to play against this season. Described as having a fast-paced offence with plenty of weapons, Dakota will have to first beat Steinbach, one of the few teams to defeat the Lancers this year.

"Our match against Steinbach, it’s going to be a very tough challenge for us. They’ve had a lot of injuries throughout the year and now they’re getting their full team back and ready to go, so it’s going to be a great match," said Hudson. "They’re very strong, offensively-minded, with some good young players that know how to win. They won the junior varsity provincials last year, so they’ve got a lineage of success and winning in their program."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

Read full biography

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 10:19 AM CST: Corrects next opponent.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

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

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

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

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.