Saints sweep past Jimmies 0
The Portage Collegiate Institute Saints are shown after winning their Pride of the Prairies tournament on Saturday. The Saints then downed host St. James 3-0 on Wednesday in their first West Winnipeg Athletic Conference match since the tournament. Back row: Marc Belisle (assistant coach), Sarah Gobin (assistant coach), Harlie Poschenrieder, Caitlyn Dyck, Jessica Stewart, Tayte Neill, Keitlyn Delmage, Alyssa Moman, Rob Gamache (head coach). Front row: Mackenzie Van Aert, Tyneille Neufeld, Shae Miller, Hope Stothers, Kali Lambert. (Donald Lambert/Submitted photo)
They may not be playing their best, but they're winning.
The Portage Collegiate Institute Saints varsity team (4-1) finds itself high in the West Winnipeg Athletic Conference standings after breezing past the St. James Jimmies 3-0 (25-15, 25-11 and 25-15).
Head coach Rob Gamache felt the Jimmies were an improved bunch over previous years, but the Saints were still able to pick up the win with relative ease.
"Credit to St. James — the club this year is better than I thought they've been in the past year," said Gamache. "We had to work a little bit harder. We didn't have to play our best volleyball, but we did enough to take care of business.
"We served fairly tough, though we were maybe a little inconsistent at times."
Gamache said with a St. James team seemingly on the rise, it was more important to grasp control early on to avoid creating a more confident opponent.
"The goal was to get a good jump on them and keep them from believing that they could play with us," said Gamache. "It's such a momentum-based game that when all of a sudden when it's close, the other team starts believing in themselves, and then the reverse happens on your side of the floor.
"It doesn't take much."
A shift nearly happened in the third set, as the teams played point-for-point getting up to 12-12. From there, PCI found its groove and closed out the match.
"We were able to step up with some strong serving late in that third set to get it done that way," said Gamache.
Gamache said Jessica Stewart, Kali Lambert, and Tyneille Neufeld came forward to help guide the team to a win.
"Maybe not everybody was having their best night, but we had a couple girls that were able to step up and get 'er done," said Gamache.
The game was PCI's first since going through its home tournament undefeated to score gold. Gamache said the match wasn't a great barometer of whether the team was able to keep rolling after the confidence-booster.
"It's tough to say in a game like this," said Gamache. "We'll wait and see to the weekend to see if we can carry over that momentum.
"Today was a bit of a tougher game because we didn't have to play our best volleyball, but we were able to do enough to get the job done. A win's a win."
The Saints will be in Winnipeg this weekend to participate in a tournament at Westwood Collegiate. Right off the bat, the Saints will face John Taylor and Fort Richmond in pool play. The Saints have faced both already in WWAC action, as well as in tournament play so far this year. As well, the Saints will play Jeanne Sauve, a team they faced off with in Selkirk last month.
"All three teams we matched up very well with," said Gamache. "Those are the teams that are in our pool, but there are some top-notch teams in some of the other pools — Westwood and St. Mary's, Selkirk, both Vincent Masseys.
"If we play some good volleyball, maybe it's a chance for us to step up and beat some ranked teams and work our way into those AAAA rankings, which would be a first-time thing for our program. Hopefully it's something the girls are motivated by and we have a chance to pick up our level of play."