Sharks sink their teeth into silver at R.F. tourney
Seventeen teams compete at Sept. 29-30 event
Tuesday, Oct 03, 2017 06:00 am
Out of Westlock’s four entries in the R.F. Staples Invitation Tournament Sept. 29-30, the St. Mary senior boys took top honours with a second-place finish.
Seventeen teams attended the event, with the Sharks falling to St. Francis Xavier in the final. Neither R.F. Staples junior varsity teams or the St. Mary senior girls moved past the round robin.
“It was a very good weekend,” said St. Mary boys head coach Vance Nakonechny. “We’ve got five guys who haven’t played high school volleyball before, so out of nine players that’s quite a bit of inexperience. But they really stepped up and showed a lot of poise and didn’t quit.”
He said his team’s movement and defence especially impressed him, though he noted they needed to work on their consistency. He figured the team would develop more discipline as it gained experience.
“We had a really good run all day and won the first set of the final,” said Nakonechny. “I think we may have started to worry about what we were playing for and not playing each single point and letting the match take care of itself.”
St. Mary girls head coach Ty Snell said that his team did well considering most of the team had never played at the high school level before.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for, but we had a lot of improvements,” he said. “There were a lot of small things that we were doing right, so it’s a step in the right direction. Our serving has gotten a lot better over the games.”
R.F. Staples athletics director Meaghan McKenzie said the tournament was set up as a response to student feedback.
“Last year I spoke with all the kids who participated in sports and they said they wanted more home tournaments so their classmates and teachers could be there and so we could build school spirit,” she said. “We’re doing our best to do that.”
While hosting the tournament was definitely exciting, neither of the R.F. Staples T-Birds teams moved past the round robin.
T-Birds girls head coach Denise Sturkenboom said she was proud of the leadership skills her players showed throughout the event.
“There was a lot of really good challenging teams, which was really nice,” she said. “The girls worked really hard. If they got down, they did their best to get their spirits back up.”
Meanwhile, the T-Birds boys also had a rough, but valuable learning experience and finished third in their pool.
T-Birds boys head coach Aaron Deas said he liked how his team stepped up to the competition, especially some of his new players, but noted he wanted to get his guys talking more on the court.
“There were a lot of really strong teams there. Given the scope of competition, I think the boys did really well,” he said. “We need to have a bit more intensity as a team, but that will come.”
The Sharks boys are headed to Morinville for a tournament Oct. 13-14. The Sharks girls and both the R.F. Staples junior varsity teams are preparing for the Joe Nestorovich Memorial Tournament hosted by St. Mary School and slated for Oct. 20-21 at the Rotary Spirit Centre.