The Green Valley Pirates ran the table this past weekend in Carberry.
The Zone 13 champions reeled off seven straight wins and captured the Provincial AA High School Varsity Boys Volleyball Championship banner for the second time in school history.
"It was certainly pretty exciting," said Pirates coach Justin Hart who watched his volleyball team defeat Gabrielle Roy 25-23, 25-17 in the final. "Coming up so short last year against Steinbach Christian by three points, we wanted to make sure that we finished the deal this year. It was just pure excitement and pure joy."
The Flames beat Green Valley 25-14, 18-25, 15-12 one year ago in Warren and coach Hart said that loss was a huge motivating factor for his returning players.
"We had talked about it almost all year long. We said three points, that was the difference. We didn't drop a set all weekend. We were right there in a lot of them. We were down 24-21 against Major Pratt (Russell) and came back and beat them 26-24. It was just that mental toughness and just remembering that we didn't want to drop another set. We didn't want to give up another point like we had the year before. It was huge a motivating factor for all of us."
Hart said his team was successful against Les Roys on Saturday afternoon because they they took care of their side of the net.
"Control the ball, pass the ball well and serve well. I think we missed one or two serves the entire game. If we could just control the ball on our side, if we could just pass the ball and serve the ball well - we were going to have a really good chance of winning that game."
The Pirates, who went into the provincials as the number one seed, defeated Carman 25-18, 25-16; Steinbach Christian 25-19, 25-18; Major Pratt 26-24, 25-21 and Frontier Collegiate of Cranberry Portage 25-15, 25-9 in the round robin.
Green Valley then beat Goose Lake of Roblin 25-21, 25-17 in the quarterfinals and knocked off Warren 25-6, 25-11 in the semifinals.
It was an impressive weekend for the three Zone 13 teams who qualified for the provincials as the Pirates, Les Roys and Flames finished in the top three in Carberry.
Steinbach Christian beat Warren 25-11 & 25-15 in the Third Place game.
"Our zone is very, very strong," said Hart. "It's almost like winning the provincial championship twice when you have to come through Steinbach Christian and you have to come through Gab Roy at our zone and also come through them at provincials. It's a really tough thing to do. It's just a huge testament to our zone and the calibre of volleyball. You see us finish one, two and three. We have to play that every single night in our league play and we have to play that in our zone and then we have to go to provincials and play that. It prepares us for playing against the best. All our teams are the best teams and it came down to Saturday. Whoever is going to be on Saturday - that's who's going to win. It's not an easy thing to do."
Sam Wiebe and Noah Boschman of the Pirates were named to the All-Star Team along with Zane Brandt of the Flames and Liam Poirier & Dany Dupuis of Gabrielle Roy.
Pirates power hitter Liam Boschman was chosed the Most Valuable Player.
"Liam has been such a leader this entire year," coach Hart said. "He's a little bit of a quieter guy but he talks on the court. He really pulls everybody together. He's a good guy off the court and such a good guy on the court. He's just a complete player. It was my pleasure to coach him and to coach all these guys. They're best friends on and off the court and that is huge when it comes to a really good team."
photos courtesy Maria Friesen