Teams spike to semi-finals in Yellowknife tourney

Hay River’s top volleyball players went to Yellowknife over the weekend to test their skills against teams from across the NWT.

The mens team, consisting of Brad Harrison, Eddie Smith, Glenn Smith, Kenny Power, Matt Davis, and Steve Campbell finished strongly considering their weak start.
“We crescendoed,” said Eddie Smith. “We played poorly up until Sunday. We took a long time to gel – five games as a matter of fact – and then we rocked.”
The mens team won two games and lost three in the round robin part of the tournament.
“We were one hair away from the final,” said Eddie. The team ended up in the semi-finals against a stronger Yellowknife team, to whom they lost the champion title.
The Yellowknife team beat Hay River 25-10 in the first set, then Hay River grabbed it back in the next with a 25-18 win. The title was claimed after Yellowknife beat Hay River 15-13 in the last set.
“The momentum was all ours,” said Smith. “We had suddenly snapped into awareness. Our blocks were working, our passing was working, and our hitting was working. It’s a simple game if you get all three of those elements working. But in the end the game was decided by a bad call.”
“Even with Stevie in the front row, we just about toppled the other team,” he said. “We were awake, and we were ravenous.”
Smith said after seeing the team come together toward the end of the tournament, he is encouraged by the strength of their game.
“I was impressed that we almost beat the winning team, but disappointed that we didn’t.”
He said to conquer the next tournament in February, the team needs to bond a bit more.
“Lots of team sleepovers are in order,” he said.
The women’s team, consisting of Angela Carter, Heather Coakwell, Kelsey Gill, Jennifer Swallow, Julie Malenfant, Nikki Ashton, and Roslyn Cardinal played the best they have in their history as a team, according to Ashton.
“We played better than ever,” she said.
The team lost two games out of the six they played, making their way into the semi-finals.
“We’ve never made the semi-finals before,” said Ashton. “We had some really good team adhesion.”
Their semi-final game was a close one against Tli Cho, whom Ashton said was an even match.
“We didn’t play as strong as we could have,” she said. “It was a good learning experience.”
Ashton said for the next tournament in February, the women are going to be working on their court coverage.
“It’s all about being in the right spot at the right time,” she said.