The top three teams finished provincials the same way they did in the regular season. The SIAST Palliser Panthers women’s volleyball team was hoping for an upset, but they secured a bronze medal instead.
“We were ranked third going in. We played well, but I was hoping we would upset Kelsey in the semifinal,” said Panthers coach Lewie Bell. “We had a good match against them, but we came up a little bit short. Kelsey played well, we played well, but they ended up beating us in four.”
Bethany College finished in first place with an undefeated 10-0 record and SIAST Kelsey finished in second and the Palliser Panthers team finished with a 5-5 record in third place.
“What happened in the league pretty much happened in the playoffs,” stated Bell. “We lost our games to Bethany and Kelsey, but we had beaten the other teams. Those are the two teams that ended up in the final. Bethany was undefeated all season and they kept that alive with winning the provincials as well.”
In their playoff opener, the Panthers defeated the SIAST Woodland Wild team in three sets, but lost to Kelsey in the semifinal three sets to one.
“I think we played up to our potential at provincials, but I hoping to step it up a little bit and keep Kelsey a little bit flat and upset them in the semifinal,” he said.
The Panthers defeated Millar in five sets to win the bronze medal. The team had four returning players and five rookies, including one that didn’t play much in high school.
“At our school, we don’t get a lot of players back because the courses offered are two year courses. We don’t have a lot of players that stay for more than two years. If we get half the team back, that is pretty much par for the college,” explained Bell. “We are happy with how the season went.”
Aside from Bethany College, the league had some parity, which was a good to see for Bell and the Panthers.
“I think the competition was better than last year. I think Bethany was quite a bit better. I think the league overall was stronger than last year,” he said.
The Panthers will be off to Olds, Alta. next weekend to compete at the Western Canada Championships. It is an invitational tournament and they try to get as many teams involved as possible. There are 12 women’s teams and 13 men’s teams attending. The Panthers have been there the last couple of years.
“It is going to be interesting to see how we do at Westerns compared to the other provinces. I think our province is stronger than last year, so it will be interesting to see where we end up,” Bell said. “It would be nice to make the semifinal and be in the top four at Westerns.”