Central utilizes bench in win
On any given night for any given team, coming to Central Collegiate to play the Cyclones can be a difficult task.
© Katie Brickman
Jalen Mikuliak from the Central Cyclones tips the ball as Tyson Stevens (15) and Noah Dowbotham (9) get ready to block during senior boys volleyball action on Thursday evening. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
However, with only six players with limited senior boys volleyball experience, the task becomes more challenging.
The Avonlea Eagles normally have eight players, but two are out with injuries. They lost in three sets (25-11, 25-18, 25-23) to the Cyclones on Thursday evening.
“We know that Central is probably the top team in the league and I lost five starters from last year, so we knew coming in it was going to be tough. With a small school like ours, it is hard to compete with the 5A schools,” stated Brent Lothian, coach for the Eagles. “They are probably psyched out having heard a little bit what these guys are like.”
The Cyclones were able to utilize their bench for the majority of the game, which helped their development as well.
“I saw a lot of things we were working on in practice. I saw them getting off the net for free balls and to see the bench do that is good,” said Shaune Gray, co-coach for the Cyclones. “They are starting to understand the game more.”
The Eagles are a team that has a steep learning curve this year, as the majority of their players haven’t played a high level of volleyball. However, Lothian thought they played better earlier this season than on Thursday.
“Earlier, I thought they played better than I thought they were going to be at this stage. I told them that. I thought we were going to be weaker than that,” Lothian explained. “(Thursday) looked more what I was expecting. (However), at times, when they decided that they could play and they got their feet moving, they were OK.”
With Central utilizing their bench, two Grade 10 players — Jalen Mikaluk and Max Pilsworth — both stood out to Gray.
“He wants to play and he is listening intently. He is working hard all the time,” Gray said of Mikaluk.
With the some-what consistent play of their bench, the Cyclones were able to rest some of their starters prior to their nine-team tournament in Swift Current this weekend.
“It is good to give them (starters) a rest as they are suffering some injuries…nothing major,” said Gray.
The play of the bench is also giving the Cyclones some extra hope for the future, as there aren’t a lot of boys that are signed up for the sport at the school. The senior and junior teams are both using some Grade 10s.
“It is good to see our bench developing already. They have come a long way in the three or four weeks now,” said Gray. “It helps us for years to come now. Gives us a little more hope for fighting for a city title.”
In action senior boys action, Caronport beat Vanier 25-22, 26-24 and 25-20.
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