[attach]5230[/attach]The competitive spirit exemplified by the seniors girls basketball team has spilled over into Eastern Commerce’s volleyball squad.
With five members of the OFSAA-qualifying troupe hitting the net for their winter session, there’s an unspoken expectation of greatness on the volleyball court.
But before Tier 2 South Region playoffs come into focus, Saints coach Desiree Harvey will have to squeeze in as much practice time as possible, as their 2-1 (25-22, 22-25, 15-11) win over Marc Garneau, Dec. 1 revealed a few deficiencies.
“This was kind of an experiment, I think, we didn’t know how we were going to do,” Harvey said. “We’ve only had two practices.”
Given only two days to bring a team together, the Saints battled back from deficits in both the first two sets. Leading the charge was Billie Grant, playing strong at middle for the squad.
“I thought that Billie had some good spikes, in the first set in particular,” Harvey said. “We had some good setting from Kate (Hill) who is in grade 9.”
Also contributing at the net was Tayla Gibb who put the ‘kill’ in overkill on her spikes.
When asked about coming from behind on a 12-7 score, Gibb chalked it up the crew’s never-die philosophy.
“I guess it’s just our competitiveness,” she said. “We like to win, not lose, and it’s just our nature as players.”
Marc Garneau shared in that same mentality going to the net to block shots, dig up shallow serves and set the pace of the game.
Coach Christina Nitsou said the team has shared the same problem Eastern Commerce has with limited time to prepare for the season.
“Our second practice was a game, so it’s a fast season,” she said. “We have seven games within four weeks.
“It’s hard to get in practices.”
Still, key players who will be glue heading into the next seven games over four weeks will be power Romel Tucker-McIntyre and setter Anna Xu.
“They fought back hard in the second set,” Nitsou said.
Tucker-McIntyre’s service at the end of the second set brought the Cougars back from a 22-20 trailing to a 25-22 wrap-up.
Still, Eastern Commerce worked a strong defensive and offensive strategy.
“We were playing forward on offence,” Harvey said. “I think it worked pretty well, it didn’t seem too confusing for them with rotations. We switched to W (alignment) on defence.”
Both teams said they are happy with qualifying for the playoffs, as Tier 2 does not qualify for OFSAA.