By DANNY RODE
Special to the Advocate
The opening day couldn’t have went any better for the Red Deer girls teams at the provincial high school 4A volleyball championships.
Both the host Lindsay Thurber Raiders and the Notre Dame Cougars posted 3-0 records heading into today’s playoff rounds.
The Raiders, who came in ranked second, captured the power pool, defeating Jasper Place 25-23, 25-11, William Aberhart of Calgary 25-23, 25-22 and the top-seeded Western Canada 21-25, 25-20, 19-17.
“That last match against Western Canada was a really a great battle between two good teams,” said Raiders head coach Kirsten de Zutter. “”Winning that gives our team a lot of confidence, which is important for us. That was a great team we played, in fact we played three great teams, I was pleased with the girls resiliency and the ability to come back … I’m super proud of everyone on the team.”
The Raiders are one of the youngest teams in the tournament with only four Grade 12s on the 15 player roster but also one of the hardest working teams.
“That’s our style, we work hard on defence and do our best to be in the right spot and work hard on reading their hitters,” added de Zutter. “We’ve worked hard on that during the season and it’s paying off.”
Jasper Place finished second in the pool at 2-1 with Western Canada at 1-2 and Aberhart at 0-3.
The Raiders now go into the elimination brackets ranked No. 1 and play quarter-final action today at 5:30 p.m. They will face the winner of the Notre Dame and Bev Facey game, which goes at 9 a.m. at RDC. The Cougars finished first in Pool C while Bev Facey was fourth at 0-3 in Pool B.
“We didn’t drop a set … we were looking good,” said Cougars head coach Jeremy Batchelor. “It was nice to finish where we did and with a lot of momentum heading into tomorrow morning’s game. That’s the biggest one for us now.”
The Cougars defeated Bishop Carroll of Calgary 25-16, 25-18, Lloydminster 25-12, 25-20 and Memorial from Stony Plain 25-12, 25-8.
Memorial was second in the pool with a 2-1 record while Lloydminster was 1-2 and Bishop Carroll 0-3.
“Memorial was a tough team, they had a lot of good swingers, but we quickly learned their ins and outs and took it to them,” said Batchelor, who likes the way his team came into the provincials.
“I think we had a steady climb all season. Our tournament results were increasingly better and better and we’re in a good place right now … the best we’ve been all season.”
The B Pool went to Chinook of Lethbridge, who was 3-0, while Charles Spencer of Grande Prairie was 2-1 and Holy Trinity of Okotoks 1-2.
On the boys’ side, the LTCHS Raiders were also in the power pool and finished third. They defeated Harry Ainlay of Edmonton 25-20, 25-15 and lost 23-25, 25-27 to top-seeded EP Scarlett of Calgary and 25-22, 19-25, 15-17 to Western Canada.
Scarlett and Western Canada were 2-1 with LTCHS and Ainlay at 1-2.
Meanwhile, the Notre Dame Cougars were in Pool B and posted a 2-1 record. They defeated Edmonton Christian 25-20, 25-21 and William Aberhart 25-18, 21-25, 16-14 and lost 26-28, 22-25 to Jasper Place, 0-3.
Edmonton Christian was 1-2 and Aberhart 0-3.
In Pool C Catholic Central of Lethbridge finished at 3-0 with Holy Trinity at 2-1, Charles Spencer 1-2 and Lloydminster 0-3.
Notre Dame takes on Charles Spencer at 11 a.m. today.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca