By Jonathan Guignard
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders are two games into the Central Alberta High School volleyball regular season and the senior boys and girls teams like their chances of reaching provincials.
The boys beat the Lacombe Rams in three straight sets 25-11, 25-16, 25-15 on Tuesday, improving to 2-0 on the regular season.
“The goal is always to be on top at the end of the season,” said head coach Terrence McMullen.
“Right now we’re in the conversation, but I don’t know if we’re in that ‘team to beat’ talk. I think we are more of a ‘how we play will determine where we end up’ kind of team, but I do think we are a top eight team in the province.”
McMullen said he has a very strong team to work with this season and will rely heavily on offence.
“Right now, I think we are one of the better offensive teams,” he said.
“We are tough if we can be consistent with our serve. We can be very aggressive, and that puts opponents at a disadvantage. As a team, we also attack very well.”
As good as the offence can be, McMullen said making sure the team is constantly doing the little things right will be the key to the team’s success.
With only four returning players from last season, McMullen said the inexperience is leading to inconsistency.
“It’s about learning to play at a high level for a longer period of time and maintaining it,” said McMullen. “A lot of that comes with competing each day in practice and coming to games with the attitude of it doesn’t matter who we are playing.”
The boys placed second in zone championships last year, but failed to make the provincials.
After dropping their first regular season game to the Notre Dame Cougars on Oct. 18, the girls rebounded with a win over the Lacombe Rams 25-9, 25-13, 25-16 on Tuesday to push their record to 1-1.
“Our goal is always to be the best we can be. The goal this year is to push to be the best team in Central Alberta.
“I believe that we can compete on a provincial level and I believe our team is capable of huge success,” said head coach Kirsten Dezutter.
The team has eight returning players with a good mix of youth and experience, said Dezutter.
“We always look to our veterans, but the new kids have really rounded out the roster quite well. We are really pleased with our first year players.
“They are doing really well and we’re excited about the contributions they are making,” said Dezutter.
Dezutter said because the team is smaller than most teams in the province, it plays with more patience.
“We’re all about defence and passing. Because of our size, we know we have to defend well and pass well.
“We try to make as few mistakes as possible. When we have offensive opportunities, we go for it,” said Dezutter.
Getting the entire team involved is something Dezutter said is important.
The team finished first in zone championships last year and placed fourth at provincials.
Lindsay Thurber host the provincials this year from Nov. 24-26 in Red Deer.
Next up for the two teams are games against Hunting Hills on Nov. 1. The girls play at 6 p.m. followed by the boys.