Varsity Trojans swept by Crusaders 0
The PCI varsity Trojans were swept 3-0 by St. Paul's on Tuesday. (File photo)
The Portage Collegiate Institute Trojans varsity team wasn't welcomed back from its hiatus.
After nearly two weeks away from West Winnipeg Athletic Conference play, the Trojans (3-2) were charged with taking on the top-ranked team in the province — the St. Paul's Crusaders.
Head coach Jason Green said PCI battled early, falling in the first set 25-22, but the host team was able to take off in the following sets, winning 25-14 and 25-18 to sweep aside the Trojans.
Green didn't feel that the layoff was a major factor, noting the strong play early.
"You have to be playing high-competition ball to stay sharp, but we came really good out of the gates against them, so I don't know if that's what I could blame it on," said Green. "Maybe we thought we were playing against one of the top teams in the province, so let's just be competitive. I don't know if we set the bar high enough.
"Once we played well in the first set, maybe we tightened up a little bit because we said 'Okay, maybe this is a team we can compete with, so maybe they had higher expectations. We made a few errors from there."
Green said St. Paul's possessed a scoring machine that was able to burn PCI regularly to push the Crusaders ahead.
"They have one significant attacker on the right side," said Green. "He was lights out every time. He was as good as I've seen.
"Our ball control just didn't match theirs in sets two and three, and they could set that guy up. When they got the pass to him, it was an automatic point, basically."
Green was excited to see PCI keeping up with the big dogs early on, giving the team some confidence that they can play with strong teams at their best. However, there are still plenty of areas where the Trojans must improve if they're going to be at that level consistently.
"You look at what they're doing and see why they're these elite teams," said Green. "I drew some notes from that. I knew that their ball control was incredible, and that's where I want to set the bar for my team. If we can have the level of passing that we saw against them tonight, I think we can attack with those guys."
The Trojans have two big games next week, including a home date with the Vincent Massey Trojans on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., before playing at a tournament in Winkler to cap the month. Green is glad things are picking up again.
"I don't want to play all my ball up front and have a layoff just before playoffs," said Green. "I want to be playing a tonne of ball leading toward the playoff push and with all the high-level competition, the boys will know what to expect each match."