Prairie Fire hosts 15U provincials 0
The Prairie Fire Black 15U volleyball team took little stock of its ranking heading into the 2012 Volleyball Manitoba 15U Girls Provincial Championships this weekend.
The squad entered the tournament, which was held at several locations in Portage, ranked 15th, but a solid Saturday placed them in Sunday's championship, where they ultimately finished eighth.
Head coach Trevor Shackleton was proud of the way the club performed.
"We played some great volleyball. Saturday was unbelievable," said Shackleton. "The goal was to make the championship round. We came in seeded 15th and we made the championship round - top 2 in our pool.
"We had a very tough pool. We had fifth-seed Fury and we went three sets with them, losing 15-11 (in the third set). then sixth-seed Club West from Virden, and we beat them, and 16th-seed Synergy and then we beat them."
In the playoff round, Shackleton said the Prairie Fire were nervous against the Mavericks, losing 25-15 and 25-13 in straight sets. However, they played better in following games against the Bisons (losing 25-23 and 25-17) and the Raiders (25-12 and 25-21). showing some flashes of fine play.
"We played really well, we just didn't put streaks together," said Shackleton. "You know how you play well and don't get results? That was today (Sunday).
"Yesterday (Saturday), we played real well and got points for good plays. Today, when you go up that extra level, you have to make even better plays. We made good plays, but didn't get rewarded for a lot of our good play."
Even with the winless day on Sunday, Shackleton was thrilled with the big picture.
"If last week you said to us 'You're going to be eighth in the province', we'll take it," said Shackleton. "The girls should be proud of themselves. They played absolutely fabulous all weekend long.
"Our serving was very good, our passing was really good on Saturday, and our setting and our attacks were very good yesterday (Saturday)."
As for the Orange team, the club was 1-3 in group play on Saturday, toughing out a three-set victory over the Morden Wolves in its final preliminary game. Playing on the consolation side on Sunday, the team won its opener over Big Bear 27-29, 25-17 and 15-6. They then dropped other close three-set matches to Tsunami, Club West, and the Vipers.
Assistant coach Graeme Schmidt said the team looked good Sunday, but wasn't able to generate wins.
"They were all close ones today (Sunday)," said Schmidt. "Every match that they played went to three sets, and just, unfortunately, they couldn't close it out."
For more, please see Monday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.