Three games, three wins, three sweeps.
The Vanier Spirits couldn’t have drawn up the first day of the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association any better, and as a result they’ll be off to the playoff round when things get down to the nitty gritty on Saturday.
“It’s feels really good coming into today and going 3-0, and winning each of them in two sets is awesome,” said Spirits head coach Aly Bell. “We just have to keep focussed and keep going tomorrow, that’s our big day. We have Martensville in the morning and they’re a really good team, so hopefully we can play a little bit better than today, fine-tune some things and hopefully we’ll be okay.”
Vanier got things started first thing Friday with a 25-8, 25-14 win over Melville before downing Lumsden 25-7, 25-21 and closing out the day with a 25-14, 25-18 win over Humboldt.
The Spirits looked good in the process, especially when it came to getting the ball to the front row. Vanier’s setters got the job done from there, distributing the ball well for their lethal hitters.
That all proved too much for their opponents on Friday, and Bell will be hoping for much of the same when the big games come Saturday.
“The best thing about volleyball is a lot of it is mental, you could be playing one way one day and be a completely different team the next,” she said. “Hopefully we have it in us to focus and do even better than we did today.”
The key to that will be communication, something that was a bit inconsistent even with the rampant success Friday.
“There’s always lots of communication stuff and sometimes we do it really well and sometimes we’re a little too quiet,” Bell said. “So if we keep talking and keep each other pumped up we’ll be fine and we’ll be flying.”
Vanier’s game against Martensville, also 3-0, will determine seeding for the playoffs and will take place at 10 a.m. at Peacock.
The winner will take first place heading into the quarter-final and will face the fourth-place team from Pool B.
The Central Cyclones are hoping that team will be them, but they’ll need a huge win and all sorts of help for that to happen after going 0-3 on Friday.
Central opened with a 25-19, 25-14 loss to Nipawin before falling 25-17, 25-22 to Regina Luther and dropping a 27-25, 25-20 heartbreaker to North Battleford John Paul II.
Their final game of the round robin is against Meadow Lake (0-2) at 11 a.m. at Peacock.
The top four teams from each five-team pool advance to the playoff round, with the quarter-finals at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Vanier and Peacock, followed by the semifinals at 3 p.m. at both schools. The bronze medal game is 4:30 p.m. and gold medal game at 5:30 p.m., with both those contests at Vanier.
Be sure to check back Saturday for more from provincials and follow along with all the scores on www.shsaa.ca.