INNISFAIL – Red Deer’s St. Joseph High School won the gold medal at the Innisfail Cyclone’s Senior Girl’s Volleyball Tournament last weekend but not before the home team came close to taking them out during the semifinals.
The St. Joseph Falcons, the top ranked team for the Oct. 16 tourney, claimed the first set of the match against the Cyclones with a convincing 25-10 victory but the Cyclones roared back to win the second game 25-20. In the deciding third match Innisfail was quickly up 10-6 but could not hang on and ultimately fell 15-10 to the Falcons.
St. Joseph then went on to defeat Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Raiders in two straight sets to claim the tourney’s gold medal. Lindsay Thurber settled for silver.
Unfortunately for Innisfail, they finished in fourth place as they lost to Trochu in two straight games in the bronze medal game.
Innisfail head coach Bob Klatt was hoping for a top three finish at the home tournament but his team’s strong performance did not disappoint. He noted the Cyclones were the only squad in the 10-team tournament to win a game against St. Joseph.
“We got in the semifinals where we hoped we would be, and we played against the top team St. Joseph that actually won the tournament and it came down to three games, and it was really close third game. I was quite happy with that result. We had a good chance to win that,” said Klatt.
“The third game we seemed to go point for point for a while, and St. Joseph ended up being the better team by a few points.
“I wasn’t disappointed by that. It could have gone either way. It was nice to see that St. Joseph being a bigger school we were the only team all day that took a game from them, and it easily could have been the third game as well. So again, I was very proud that we were the team to take a game from them.”
With Innisfail’s home tournament now in the books, the Cyclones will now prepare themselves for their next tournament in Rocky Mountain House on Nov. 5 and 6. It will be the Cyclones’ fifth and final tournament of their two-month season.
Klatt noted that at this stage of development for grade 10 to 12 volleyball the execution of game basics determines wins or losses. He said many of the basics will continue to be worked on.
“We are not trying any special plays or anything like that. It’s the same thing for volleyball for any team, even the Olympic teams, the basics are serving and pass receiving, and of course hitting and defence after that,” said Klatt.
“Serving and pass receiving are incredibly important in volleyball. We are going to work on those things.”
To help prepare for the season’s final tourney the Cyclones will get some valuable experience by playing games with adult women from the school, he said.
“It has been a really good season so far. The girls have had fun, and have been very competitive,” said Klatt, adding his team’s solid performance throughout this season is extra special because last year was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You always want to win every tournament you go into but there’s other good teams besides ourselves out there. They are practicing hard too.”