In a must-win game, the Notre Dame senior boys volleyball team came to play.
On Thursday night the Cougars took Game 2 of the 4A central zone volleyball championship over the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in enemy territory to even up the series.
Head coach Sean Boyne said his team was much improved from their Game 1 loss on Wednesday.
“We did a better job about spreading our offence and having more of a balanced offence,” he said.
“We were able to run middle a lot more effectively and guys were communicating a lot more as well…
“It felt like it was long overdue. We’ve never been able to get into fifth gear against a good team in Thurber. Being able to do that at the right time in the season I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”
The Raiders took the opening set 25-16 but the Cougars responded taking the second and third sets by a small margin 26-24 and 25-22.
The Cougars had a shot to close out the victory in the fourth set but lost a nail-biter 25-23. However, Notre Dame regrouped to come out on top in the final set 15-13.
It was an intense atmosphere in the Thurber gym with plenty of chants between both fan bases. But that was to be expected in one of the longest-serving rivalries in central Alberta.
The Raiders senior boys are currently ranked third in the province among all 4A volleyball teams. Notre Dame’s victory could be viewed as a major upset but in the Cougars’ eyes they’re focused on finishing the job
“It hasn’t been a question so much if we have the talent it’s just a matter of putting it all together on the court,” Boyne said.
“I think having that kind of character victory is something we’ve been working toward and the fact we were able to pull through at a key time is super important.”
Notre Dame’s win sets up a winner-takes-all scenario on Friday night at Lindsay Thurber High School in Game 3. The winner will advance to provincials.
“I think for all the good that we did there are definitely some things left to be desired out there on the court but that just comes with togetherness,” Boyne said.
“I think we’ll be up to the challenge. Travis and Terrence are great coaches they’ll make adjustments to put Thurber in the best position to be successful.
“We’ll have to tweak our own systems to make sure we’re also in a good place heading into that game.”