The Landmark 96ers are Provincial AA High School Varsity Boys volleyball champions.
The 96’ers went undefeated in The Pas this past weekend and captured the school’s second varsity boys AA championship banner in three years.
“We were ecstatic to bring home the provincial championship banner this year,” noted Landmark coach Jon Reimer. “Last year we had a team that got better and better as the year went on, and by the end of the year were neck-and-neck with the top teams on the province, and much of our core was in grade 11. At the end of the season, we knew that the provincial championship was within sight for the 2022-23 season. The whole year we have been working towards this, and getting better and better, and there is a huge sense of relief to have accomplished such an ambitious goal.”
The 96ers, who lost out in the quarterfinals to Russell’s Major Pratt Trojans last December in MacGregor, defeated the Zone 13 champion Gabrielle Roy Les Roys 25-23, 19-25, 15-9 in the championship game.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Gab Roy and their volleyball program,” remarked Reimer. “They have a very strong defense that is relentless, and it takes all of our creativity to overcome. In the final game the strength of our hitting and the composure of our players made the difference. Our boys were able to make their serves and do the little things right, putting continued pressure on the Gab Roy team to find solutions, and that helped us to pull ahead in the end. This was the opposite in the zone finals against Gab Roy where their team showed more composure than we did, and they won that game. With that game in our memory, this felt like a redemption game for us and made the victory extra special for our team.”
Landmark swept the William Morton Warriors of Gladstone, host Margaret Barbour Spartans, Rosenort Redhawks and Flin Flon’s Hapnot Kopper Kings in the round robin.
The 96ers then defeated Immanuel Christian in the quarterfinals and Hapnot in the semifinals setting up a winner take all final with Gabrielle Roy.
Landmark’s Zone 13 rivals were the only team to take the 96ers to three sets in The Pas.
Easton Dick and Scott Toews were chosen tournament All-Stars and Dick also received the Players Choice Award given to the player that best exemplifies sportsmanship, leadership, positive attitude and all-around team player.
“We truly had a very special team this year,” Reimer stated. “There were very few teams that stood a chance against our boys and their power. If I can brag, over the course of this season our 96ers teams beat every AAA team that we played, and we played almost every ranked team. The only AA team we lost to was Gab Roy all season long. We did this with an overwhelming offense which was organized by our first-time setter Scott Toews, who developed into a provincial all-star setter in one season, two all-star players with university scholarships, Will Soper and Easton Dick; a devastating right side hitter with the hardest spin serve in the province, Cole Koop. Rick Peters is our middle who developed into one of the best middles in the province with his speed on the net and was defensively incredible, which is rare for a middle. And Judah Beech was a consistent hitter and defensive player that allowed our offense to thrive."
"Our boys were committed to improving and practiced hard and become one of the strongest defensive teams as well, which made us virtually unbeatable," added coach Reimer. "We were able to neutralize the largest threats of the opposition and ultimately win it all in the end.”