The Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior boys volleyball team is back on top.
A year after falling in the finals, the Raiders took home the 4A high school central zone championship on Friday night in Game 3 of the best-of-three series.
In front of a packed gym at Lindsay Thurber High School, the boys fed off the energy from the home crowd to beat the Notre Dame Cougars 3-0.
After the game Raiders head coach Travis Czainski said words couldn’t describe what the series victory means to them.
“It’s been a heavy couple of weeks for this group and they just worked their butts off,” he said. “I’m so proud of those kids. It’s awesome.”
The Raiders came into Friday night’s tilt fresh off a Game 2 loss to the Cougars to tie the series at one. The Raiders knew they had plenty to work on ahead of the final game and as a result, they came out strong.
After winning the first two sets by large margins 25-13 and 25-14, the Raiders had to battle in an extended final set with lots of back and forth.
Eventually, Lindsay Thurber was able to string multiple points in a row to win the set 29-27.
“This is a super talented group,” Czainski added.
“Our theme all year has been to take a step forward. I challenged these guys last night after that tough loss to somehow figure out a way to step forward from that.
“This group did it and they’ve done it all year long.”
On Thursday night, the Lindsay Thurber senior girls won their third straight zone championship in Game 2 at the high school.
The girls were dominant throughout the best-of-three series never dropping a set to sweep the Notre Dame Cougars.
Head coach Kirsten DeZutter said it was a total team effort.
“It’s a beautiful group of young ladies. The league was really competitive this year so we’re really pleased to come out on top and earn our berth to provincials,” she said.
“That was our goal to earn our way there and to give ourselves a chance to compete there.”
DeZutter said her group this year has a lot of grit, determination, and a never-give-up attitude.
Down by a handful of points in some of their sets in Game 1, the Raiders found a way to win in the end.
“I was really impressed with how they found the determination, dedication, and will to pull that game out,” DeZutter said.
Both senior Raiders teams will head to the ASAA 4A provincial championships in Calgary next weekend. They do not know who their opponents are but will find out early next week.
“Honestly, it’s anybody’s weekend and it’s all about how you play on that weekend,” DeZutter said.
“I just want to rely on the experience of some of the people who’ve been there before and use the young, energetic, and motivated athletes that we have added to this team.
“I think we have a really nice blend of student-athletes that are committed to doing the best they can.”