Spirits now focus on conference play
When the Central Cyclones play consistent volleyball, they can over power a lot of teams.
© Katie Brickman
Abbi Flanagan of the Vanier Spirits (8) has her kill blocked by Diana Lumbala (14) of the Central Cyclones during quarter-final senior girls volleyball action on Tuesday evening at Vanier. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
“We came out and played really well. I am very proud of our team. They worked really hard this year to get to this point and I am glad that we finally did,” said Joe Gunnis, coach for Central.
The Cyclones took advantage of the unforced errors of the Vanier Spirits in senior girls playoff volleyball action on Tuesday evening at Vanier Collegiate. They won in three sets (25-20, 25-21, 25-16).
Errors have been the Achilles Heel of the Spirits all season long and even with their season on the line; they just continued to beat themselves.
“This was very disappointing. To let a team come into your building like that and play that passive is not what we were expecting from the girls,” stated Rick Bell, coach for Vanier. “Defensively, I thought we played well. We made lots of digs and we picked up that aspect of our game up, but unforced errors at critical times – whether it be serving or hitting the ball long. That killed us all year long and that’s what killed us tonight.”
Having seen the Sprits a lot this season in league play and in tournaments, the Cyclones were able to put together a game plan that they executed effectively, even coming in as the visitors.
“Vanier has a very good team and we had to come in and serve effectively to help ourselves out and to see if we could get a few free balls and capitalize on that,” explained Gunnis. “Our hitters had to be smart about where they were placing the balls and when they were hitting. They had to be aggressive and they were tonight.”
The Spirits were able to put together a decent first set, but the errors and some nerves derailed their chances of coming back. It appeared that the Cyclones smelt blood and went right at the Spirits, especially in the final set.
“We tailed at the end again. Six serves and four or five hits that went out of bounds. Against a team like Central, you can’t give them opportunities like that,” stated Bell. “The girls seemed to be getting there way too late or way too early.”
With the victory, the Cyclones will now face the first-placed Peacock Toilers next week. Whichever team wins that game will be in the city final on Nov. 13 at SIAST.
Having the week off will help the Cyclones prepare for their next test.
“We have played close with Peacock all year and even though we haven’t come out on the winning side, I still think we have a great opportunity to go in there and win the match,” said Gunnis. “We match up well, we both hit the ball well and it will be a good defensive battle, I’m sure.”
Although the league play is finished for the Spirits, they will turn to conference play in the upcoming weeks with hopes of reaching regionals.
“I think we are confident going into there as there are five teams and three advance on. I think of the teams there, we should fair OK, but we can’t make mistakes like we did tonight,” said Bell.
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