By Garrett Simmons
Westwind Weekly News
The Magrath and Raymond girls volleyball teams are ready to hit the floor this weekend for the 1A/2A South Zone Volleyball Championships.
Magrath enters the tournament ranked No. 2, while Raymond is ranked No. 4.
The Comets, after a 3-8 regular season, did not advance out of pool play last weekend in the league playoffs. But coach Cristy Duce added her team’s season did include a lot of matches which could have gone either way.
“Both unfortunately and fortunately, our season record could have been 8-3 very easily, as we lost a lot of very close games and dropped some games that we should have won,” she said. “We had our games against the top teams in the league very early in the season, which made for a hard road right out of the gate, but we also learned that we can play with anybody.”
Duce added Raymond has battled to try and put together complete efforts in its matches.
“The story of our season is more about finishing games and being consistent. That has been the big challenge for us — to get over the hump of winning instead of just playing almost as good as whoever we are playing. I would have liked to have a better record, of course, but our big goal this year is our performance at zones, and our league play doesn’t have a lot to do with that, so hopefully we’ve used each of those losses to learn something that will help us in the next few weeks.”
As far as the league went, Duce added Chinook, CCH and LCI were focused and skilled teams who deserved their league records.
Raymond has been tested this season, and has played many 3A teams.
“We’ve spent most of the year at 3A tournaments, so we haven’t seen a lot of the teams that we’ll face at 2A zones, but we have had the chance to play some very good teams this season,” said Duce. “We’ve beat and played some very close games with teams from the Medicine Hat area and probably had our most fun game of the season against a very tall, very skilled Eagle Butte team, in which we only had six players, were missing starters, had a 5’4″ front row and lost by three in the third set.”
Duce went on to say the season displayed how committed her group of seniors are to building a successful program.
“We have a great group of seniors that are really giving the season as much as they can and are willing to work hard for success. I hope for their sakes that we have a great last few weeks of our season and accomplish our goals. They deserve it,” said Duce. “We just need to have the discipline and mental toughness to play smart, serve well, and play tough defence and then we can be a very dangerous team. Regardless, I’m very proud of how we’ve grown this season and also environment the seniors have fostered for our team.”
Raymond begins play at zones today (Thursday) at 4:30 p.m. against Kainai. Next will be an 8 p.m. match against Immanuel Christian. Friday, Raymond will take on Magrath at 3:15 p.m. and St. Mary’s at 5:30 p.m.
Playoffs begin Saturday at 10 a.m.
Magrath opens play Thursday at 5:30 p.m. against Immanuel Christian, and has a late 9 p.m. match against Kainai. Friday features the Raymond match and a 7:45 p.m. match against St. Mary’s.
All the matches will be held at Lethbridge College.