The Caronport boys volleyball team was one set away from being named the 4A provincial champions, but couldn’t hold on long enough and fell to Oxbow 2-1 to finish with the silver medal in Wilkie over the weekend.
“It went almost perfect,” said Caronport’s head coach Shane Sowden. “We wanted to peak at the right time and we almost did.”
The Cougars got better throughout the weekend, playing strong on Friday going 4-0 in their pool and into Saturday where they had a solid game against Rossingnol in the semi-final game. In the final game against Oxbow, it was set to be an intense battle between two unbeaten teams and both fought hard for points. The Knights opened with a 25-23 first set win, but Caronport fought back with an impressive 25-15 second set victory. The Cougars started out the final set with a 10-point lead, but couldn’t hold as Oxbow battled hard for the 25-22 set and championship win.
“It was a good weekend, I was proud of the boys,” said Sowden. “We got better, but it was a little bit of a disappointment because I think the boys thought we were the better team.”
Despite the bittersweet ending, the Cougars were excited to have won the silver medal and accomplish part of their goal.
“We almost accomplished our goal of getting it done,” he said. “We feel like we should have, but we didn’t and that’s what happens in sports and it is a great learning experience and I wish we didn’t have to learn it this time, but we do.”
The team came together on and off the court to play some of their best volleyball and will miss some key players heading into next year. Grade 12 students Ben Martin, Jason Wendel and Carter Chute provided great leadership throughout the season and playoffs and will be major holes to fill next season.
“Missing those three seniors is going to be tough to replace,” he said. “There aren’t too many guys that this level that can play like them, but we will be pretty young next year.”
Also at provincials was Cornerstone/Riverview and despite battling hard in some very close games, the Falcons came out with a sixth place finish.
“It was close games, but we just couldn’t finish,” said head coach Lee Behrns. “There was a couple little struggles and rallies we just couldn’t get out of.”
The Falcons were happy to have made it that far, but were upset with the end result. Three of their six starters will be back next season.
“We were happy with the results that we had and we would have liked to go farther, but we are proud of the boys,” said Behrns.