After not dropping a set through the round robin, quarter-finals, and semifinals of this past weekend's 16-U women's Sask Cup, the Battleford Volleyball Club (BVC) Impact found themselves up against the Stealth yet again, a team they had met one week previously in the finals of another tournament.
While last week the Impact lost 29-27, 25-19, this time they squeaked out a nail-breaking three-set win over the Stealth, 24-26, 26-24, 15-13, to win Tier I gold.
"They just kept pushing through," Impact coach Jana Friedenstab said of that final match over the phone on Monday. "We served really well [and] we really scramble well. Lots of teams just put over free ball after free ball. We're pretty good at scrambling and still being able to get an attack, which you need to do.
"It's just fun to be able to play those kind of matches, where it's just so exciting...and it was live streamed on Facebook, so a lot of people were watching and cheering for us, so it was kind of cool."
The Impact, who were ranked fifth provincially in the tournament, didn't drop a set until the finals.
Friedenstab was surprised with how easily they took down some opponents, including beating the Cougars (ranked higher) in the quarter-final 25-8, 25-15.
"Women's volleyball is kind of a fickle sport, where one day if you can't pass or serve, well, then you don't win any games," Friedenstab said. "They have a lot of great athletes and I know some of them because I've coached them on provincial teams but they just couldn't pass and serve, [so] we had an easy quarter-final with them."
Although they showed some fatigue in the second set, the Impact took down Prince Albert in the semis, which led to the rematch against the Stealth.
The Stealth are a new club team, formed by players from all over the province.
"Their one power hitter is very strong so we kind of keyed on that," Friedenstab added about the finals. "We got a lot more stuff blocks on her, so that kind of shut her down a little bit."
While there is always stuff to improve on (Friedenstab keeps a list), it's helpful that most of the girls on the team have played together for several years.
"They're a great group of girls and they really are there for each other," Friedenstab said. "They've known each other for a long time and they just work really well together."
Moving forward, BVC is hosting a tournament at the Fieldhouse next weekend, on Feb. 4.
After that, they'll travel more than 2,300 km away for the Las Vegas Classic, where about 300 college scouts will be in attendance.
"Some of these kids need to start putting together a playing resume," Friedenstab said. "Some of them want to play after high school and some of them are talented enough to do so. So they just need to get some exposure."
After the Las Vegas tournament, the Impact will take part in the second Sask Cup of the season.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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