Any time a team gets to a high school provincial volleyball tournament, it’s often the product of finding the height of their game at just the right time.
For the Central Cyclones and the 4A girls provincials beginning Friday in Moose Jaw, that time was this past weekend -- and now they’re hoping to keep the roll going all the way to a gold medal.
The Cyclones went unbeaten through to the regional final at Regina Johnson this past weekend, eventually falling to the provincial top seed Vanier Spirits in the title game.
As a result, they’ll be one of 10 teams vying for a medal when action gets underway at Peacock and Vanier Friday afternoon.
“It’s going to be tough because you always have some good volleyball teams there and some of them we haven’t seen during our tournament schedule, so it’s hard to judge each team and what their strengths and weaknesses are,” said Cyclones coach Joe Gunnis. “But just like anything else or any other tournament you have to go into it prepared and execute on your side of the net.”
The Cyclones did a good job of that regionals, with Gunnis pointing to that tournament as a sign of what his crew is capable of accomplishing.
“They’ve worked all season long and continued to improve, and the effort they’ve put in and knowledge they’ve gained as the season has gone on has really helped,” Gunnis said. “When this team puts their mind to something, they usually accomplish it, so it’s great to watch.”
Central begins their run against Nipawin on Friday at 12 p.m. before taking on Regina Luther at 3 p.m. and North Battleford John Paul II at 6 p.m. They then close out their round robin at 11 a.m. Saturday against Meadow Lake.
All of Central’s Friday games are at Peacock and their first Saturday game is at Vanier.
Like most teams at provincials, Central hasn’t seen a lot when it comes to most of their opponents, and that means it’ll be a matter of focussing on their own game.
“We have to execute on our side of the net in all facets of the game, from passing, setting, hitting and serving to make sure we qualify and then have a good playoff run,” Gunnis said. “I think it’s within our girls to do that and we’ll just have to play each game like it’s our last.
I could throw out all the cliches saying that kind of thing, but that’s actually how it is.”
One advantage the Cyclones have is provincial experience -- Central lost in the bronze medal game in 2021 and missed the playoffs by a single win in 2022.
“It’s a great experience, all the provincial hosts do a great job,” Gunnis said of playing at the highest level in the province. “It’s always a privilege to play at provincials, having tough competition and playing those kinds of teams is always a great experience for all the teams there.”
The top four teams from each round robin pool advance to the quarter-finals at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Peacock and Vanier, followed by the semifinals at 3 p.m., bronze medal game at 4:30 p.m. and gold medal game at 5:30 p.m., with the latter two games at Vanier.