Panthers fall short of title

Katie Brickman
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Great overall season for veteran team

SIAST Palliser Campus

It has almost been a dream season for the SIAST Palliser men’s volleyball team. They knew they had a skilled team and were one of the teams to beat, but they even surprised themselves.

“I knew that we were going to be a good team, but I didn’t think we were going to have as good of a year as we did,” said coach Chris Knoop. “To only lose two matches all year and eight sets all year…that is a pretty good year for us.”

The team wrapped up their season with a silver medal at the Western Canadian Championship in Olds, Alta. earlier this month.

“We played decent,” he said. “We ended up winning our pool, not too easily, but we didn’t lose a set.”

In round robin action, they defeated Prairie Bible Institute (25-14, 25-22) and Canadian Mennonite University (25-22, 25-23) on Friday. On Saturday, they defeated Kelsey Campus 25-12, 25-16.

In the quarter-final, the Panthers faced Woodland Campus from Prince Albert, who they normally face in league play. They continued their strong play, beating the Wild in straight sets 25-10, 25-22 to guarantee them a spot in the semifinal.

“It kind of sucks that you travel all that way to play another team in your own province,” he said.

They faced the Prairie Bible Institute in the semifinal and again beat them in straight sets 25-21 and 25-18. That victory set up a match between the Panthers and the Olds College Broncos. The Broncos normally play in the Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC), which a league higher than the Panthers.

“It was a little bit of a grey area for them to be allowed in the tournament because they play in a higher league,” he said. “We knew that if we played the way we should, we would have a good draw to get us to the final and probably face them.”

Both teams came out a bit shaky in the first set and the Panthers lost 25-22, but battled back to win the second set 25-11. The Panthers had a lead at the switch in the final set, but couldn’t maintain the momentum and the Broncos won 15-12 to win the title.

“We blew it a little. We were up 10-8 in the third set and we scored two points in the time it them to score seven. So they ended up winning,” said Knoop.

Not only did the team have a successful season, some individual players were highlighted as well. Colter Heron and Jaredd Jalbert were named to the tournament all-star team in Olds. Heron was also named league MVP, defensive player of the year and league all-star team. Jalbert also received a league all-star selection. Knoop was named coach of the year.

For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.

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