By Cal Braid
Westwind Weekly News
Magrath High School hosted its annual two-day varsity boys and girls’ volleyball tournament over the weekend. Dubbed Magrath Smash, it’s an event that always draws a great home crowd. The hometown Zeniths had high hopes and expected victory on their home court but were eliminated in Saturday’s semifinals. Coach Shane Orr said that the tournament traditionally draws 16 varsity teams–eight boys and eight girls’ teams. This year’s Oct. 21-22 event was attended by Magrath, Cardston, Lethbridge Collegiate, Winston Churchill, Medicine Hat, Strathmore, Strathcona Christian Academy, and Calgary Christian Academy, both on the boys and girls’ side.
The tournament is structured so that each team will play up to six matches, with everyone guaranteed five matches over the two days. Orr said, “Friday is a round robin format with two pools of four teams for each gender. Saturday, teams will cross over with the other teams from the other pools, where we run an Oregon-style draw.”
Orr said that the Zeniths finished first in pool play on Friday and won their crossover game on Saturday morning against Cardston. “Saturday afternoon in the semifinals, we lost to the Medicine Hat High Hawks. The scores were 25-19, 21-25, and 11-15. We gave up a 7-1 run at the end of the third set to lose. It was a great lesson for our team but was a painful pill to swallow, with that lesson being learned at our home tournament. Medicine Hat played well, but we felt like we played below our average level of play and are looking forward to matching up with Medicine Hat again in league playoffs and zones after we make some adjustments in practice.”
The Zenith’s coach said that even though his squad didn’t win the tournament as expected, it was a great experience. “So many teams and coaches expressed how much fun they had and (liked) the competitive nature of the tournament. We had a hitting competition that all three of our players made into the final of, and one of our players, Kale Orr, won with a hit of 109 km/hr. The other two players from our team in the hitting competition final finished second and third, respectively, as well. Our team is offensively gifted and coupling that with a great defensive structure that we are working on in practice, we will be one of the best teams in the province.”
The Zeniths will continue their push towards the ASAA provincials, held in the fourth week of November, and both coach and team have high expectations as they head back into league play and invitational tournaments.