Skip to content

'It just warms my heart': coach Polupski looks back on Peacock’s provincial volleyball championship

Toilers won the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association 4A girls championship on Saturday in Moosomin
Peacock girls provincial champs
The Peacock Toilers gather for the customary team photo after their provincial championship win on Saturday night.
Way back when the high school volleyball season was still in the distant future, Peacock Toilers head coach Lorne Polupski predicted big things not only for his team but the league in general when things did kick off.

Moose Jaw squads had provincial team-calibre players in their line-ups, the Thunder Creek Volleyball Club program was paying dividends as more and more experienced players hit the high school ranks and the potential was there for amazing things.

On Saturday afternoon, all the years of hard work and preparation finally paid off: the Peacock Toilers are the 2021 Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association 4A girls provincial champions.

“It just warms my heart for these girls, they worked so hard all year and are just amazing kids,” Polupski said on Sunday just before hosting the first TCVC practice of the winter season. “The last point that (Grade 12 Brooklyn) Roney hammers off the block for the winning point and watching them jump in the air, the tears… it brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t even get to sleep until 3 a.m. last night thinking about it all, it was a perfect end to the season and I think every coach will say that when this happens.”

The Toilers took a 25-15, 16-25, 15-11 victory over the North Battleford John Paul II Crusaders in the gold medal game, and as the score would indicate, it was a heck of a battle.

Peacock lost to the Crusaders in three games in the round robin to finish the preliminary round 3-1 and used that as a tool to prepare for the rematch in the final.

“They played amazing that game, I don’t know if they missed a serve or had a serve receive error,” Polupski said. “So when we had them in the final, we were saying ‘let’s give it everything we have’ and we adjusted a few things and it worked out for us.”

The biggest factor in the final was the second game. The Toilers trailed by as many as 10 points, but rallied back to close within three before North Battleford closed things out. That momentum carried over into the final set.

“When we were way down I said to the girls ‘this is the gold medal match, we don’t want to be walking away here thinking we didn’t give it everything on the court’ and I told them if they came back and won that game, I’d buy them all shakes,” Polupski said. “We just wanted to get back into it, and we’d come back against good teams all year, and we did again.”

“It was a very strategically played game by both coaches, and we just got momentum at the perfect time. The end of the second set, we had some good blocks and good hits and that carried over for us into the third set, then whammo bammo we’re coming home with gold.”

Peacock defeated Martensville 25-22 23-25 15-11 in their quarter-final and ran into a familiar foe in the Central Cyclones in the semis, taking a 25-11, 25-19 victory.

Central went a perfect 4-0 through the round robin and defeated Meadow Lake 25-15 25-14 in their quarter-final. The loss to Peacock sent the Cyclones to the bronze medal game, where they’d fall to Humboldt in a barnburner of a contest 25-19 20-25 15-8.