Falcons’ howl at BOB’s place

Volleyball: Foothills boys first, girls second at Calgary tourney

The Foothills Falcons celebrate after winning the senior boys Bishop O’Byrne High School volleyball tournament on Sept. 30 in Calgary.
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Bruce Campbell:  Western Wheel

The Foothills Falcons are howling with confidence in the early stages of the volleyball season.

The Falcons senior boys squad won its first tourney of what it hopes is many when it downed the Centennial Coyotes 2-1 at the Bishop O’Byrne Volleyball tournament on Saturday.

“This is a big confidence boost and it just reassures that we can compete against these big 4A schools like we will see if we get to provincials,” Falcons coach Matt Armstrong said. “For the most part we served Centennial off the court, and our hitting was unmatched.”

Falcons power Matt Greenshields hit 80 per cent on his spikes during the tournament.

“I was nervous going into the finals because we haven’t been in one for a while — the nerves were kind of setting in,” Greenshields said. “But after that first set against Centennial, we settled and we were ready to go.”

Including their big hitter.

“I was feeling confident and I felt like I was just jumping high,” Greenshields said. “The team was getting some really good passes and I got good sets… I was just able to put them away.”

It was defence up the middle that was key to the Falcons’ victory.

“We were able to shutdown Centennial’s middle early,” said Falcon setter David Kent-Canalejo. “We were making sure we got good passes up so we could get the ball up to our hitters and get some good hits.”

It was Falcons middle Kyle Tarasoff who put the clamps on his counterpart with Centennial.

“He is a real presence guy, when he’s not hitting, he’s blocking and giving a lot of room to the outside,” Armstrong said of Tarasoff. “He neutralized Centennial’s middle who is their key to the offence.”

The Falcons next tournament is Oct. 13-14 in Lethbridge.

They host Eden Valley’s Chief Jacob Bearspaw on Oct. 10 and then take on the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans on Oct. 12 at the Comp.

Silver lining

The Falcons senior girls squad didn’t come home with gold from the BOB tourney, but they did get a confidence boost.

“Our goal was to get to the finals and we did that,” said Falcons coach Joanne Schoneck. “We ended up getting silver but went three games, losing 16-14, to Centennial in the third.”

It was the Falcons only loss in the tournament.

Although Foothills didn’t win the final, they didn’t fold after losing the first set to the Coyotes The Falcons also lost heavy-hitter Emileigh Inglis in that first set.

“The girls pulled it together and won Game 2,” Schoneck said. “We had our chances in Game 3 but we just couldn’t close… We hadn’t played in a final before and it was really nice to see the girls pull together.”

The Falcons are undefeated in Foothills Athletic Council. They have a 13-3 record, including tournament play. There next FAC game is Oct. 11 when the Falcons host the Highwood Mustangs at 5:30 p.m. The girls are also travelling to Lethbridge for a tournament on Oct. 13-14.

 http://www.westernwheel.com/article/Falcons-howl-at-BOBs-place-20171004

Spartans, Knights await Falcons

Volleyball: Foothills Athletic Council finals Nov. 8 at field house

Holy Trinity Academy Knight Ryan Peters watches his spike against the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans in the Foothills Athletic Council semifinal Senior boys volleyball match Nov. 6 at STS.
BRUCE CAMPBELL/OWW

Some well-armed Spartans and Knights are aiming to knock some Falcons off their perch.

The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans defeated the Holy Trinity Academy Knights 3-1 in the Foothills Athletic Council senior girls semifinal Monday at STS.

Meanwhile, the Knights reversed that outcome by downing STS 3-1 in the boys semifinal immediately after the girls match.

Both victors will face the Foothills Falcons in their respective finals Nov. 8 at the Crescent Point Regional Field House.

The Knights won the boys semifinal when setter Lucas Hinger served up a screwball that hit the top of the net and the Spartans were unable to return. The serve gave HTA a 28-26 victory in the fourth set.

“When I saw it hit the tape and it just barely went over the net, I was so happy,” Hinger said. “They beat us in league earlier.”

The Knights were the no. 3 seed after the regular season, while STS was no. 2.

Much of the Knights power came from left-side Isaiah Michel. He realizes the Falcons — who went undefeated in the regular season — await them.

“They execute very well – they are scrappy and can hit,” Michel said. “We just have to play with the same intensity and come out swinging, and we can win.”

He added they have to be ready for Foothills big hitters, Matt Greenshields and Kyle Tarasoff.

The Falcons advanced by downing Eden Valley’s Chief Jacob Bearspaw Grizzlies 3-0 at the Comp on Monday.

The STS Spartans girls also earned the right to play Foothills in the finals.

“We just supported each other tonight — and we had some really good digs,” said STS power Paulina Hart about the win over HTA. “We played our positions really well tonight.”

The taller Spartans, Hart, Megan Norris and Maddie German, were able to nullify the Knights’ spikers.

It will be a tall order to do the same against the Falcons.

“We have to bring that (blocking) to Foothills for sure,” Hart said. “Foothills has really good servers and hitters. We have to shake off our mistakes, pass the ball and keep blocking.”

Spartans coach Andrea Weber said they’re excited to play big-school Foothills.

“To get past Comp we have to serve well and we have to pass well,” she said.

The Falcons beat STS 3-1 earlier this season.

It is the first time the Spartans have been in an FAC final in three years.

The Falcons advanced to the final by shutting out Vulcan’s County Central Hawks 3-0 at the Comp.

The senior boys and girls final starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Field House. Prior to that, the JV championships start at 5:30 p.m.

Spartans three-peat in Black Diamond

Volleyball:  STS edge HTA in drillers tournament final

Strathcona Tweedsmuir Spartan Alex Chase tips a shot over the Holy Trinity Academy blockers during the final of the Drillers Senior Boys Volleyball Tournament in Black Diamond Sept. 23. The Spartans won the title in three sets.
Remy Greer/OWW

High Country continues to provide an early season jumping off point for the Spartans.

The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans claimed their third straight championship at the senior boys volleyball Drillers tournament Saturday in Black Diamond in a thrilling three-set final over league rival Holy Trinity Academy.

“We were loud and kept up the energy,” said Spartans outside hitter Lucas Crichton. “As long as we kept up the energy, kept swinging, doing our best on offence and defence that was key to winning the game.”

The all-FAC (Foothills Athletic Council) final was anyone’s match up until the final points.

The Knights, the reigning FAC champions, took the opening set relatively comfortably by a 24-19 count only to have the Spartans respond with a late surge to take the second set.

“We had a pretty big deficit and when we’re down by that much you have to pick up the energy and keep the team going, get the team hyped,” Crichton added. “Volleyball is a pretty back and forth game and when we get on a run it’s kind of in their face and makes it hard for them to stay in it.”

The Spartans looked poised to take the second set after a 4-0 run vaulted them into a 23-19 advantage. The Knights punched right back and evened the score at 24-24 on a big hit from middle Isaiah Michel.

STS would hang on for the 26-24 win clinched on a deft serve off the net and onto the hard-court from lefty Jeremy Pierce-Lord.

“After that first set I think pretty much everybody in the building was thinking it was done, myself included,” said Spartans coach Dale Roth. “A couple guys stepped in and made one or two plays and that turned the tide. Volleyball is so momentum driven.”

The momentum seesawed back and forth in the deciding third set with both teams inches away from match points.

Following a Knights service fault, the Spartans put the game away on a Crichton kill over a pair of blockers to take set number three by an 18-16 count.

“I talked to my setter before and he said this one is coming to you,” Crichton said. “I got ready and as I got up I saw a hole in the block and hit it as hard as I could.

“That was a great feeling.”

HTA finished first in its pool, picking up victories over St. Joe’s, Brant Christian, Oilfields and St. Michael’s.

The Knights then dispatched Vulcan and Olds Koinoaia en route to the gold medal game.

The Spartans claimed top spot in Pool B, going undefeated in round robin and outlasting Calgary Academy and St. Michael’s in the playoff round.

Depth way crucial in the Spartans navigating to a three-peat.

“Some years you have six players and a couple subs and couple guys on the bench you’re looking for spaces to get in,” Roth said. “This year I’ve got 12 and every guy is getting almost equal game time and there are no favourites. The big thing is all 12 of them score.

“We’ve talked a lot about how it’s not one person, it’s the team.”

http://www.westernwheel.com/article/Spartans-threepeat-in-Black-Diamond-20170927