It was a reversal of fortune for the Queens as Spirit River Regional Academy did exactly the same thing to them as they did to Spirit River at 2A Alberta Schools Athletic Association provincials in 2012.
“We played really well, unfortunately we lost one match which was a tough one in our semifinal to Spirit River. Last year I talked after provincials telling you we could play that team (Spirit River) nine more times and never beat them but we did it that day,” said Scott Reiling, head coach of the Vauxhall Queens girls volleyball team. “I’m pretty sure they are saying the same thing to their newspaper today. Their coach was in tears that match coming up to me and I’ve known him for a long time and he gave me a hug saying ‘that’s the best match we’ve played all year.’ It was a little tough because it wasn’t a situation where we walked off the court thinking we didn’t execute. We executed pretty well, but they played pretty much error-free volleyball.”
Even at that the Queens took Spirit River to 15-12 in the deciding third set with the quality match that had the stands packed with spectators.
“Sometimes the volleyball Gods even things up and I quickly realized when I got there that we were the two quality teams there in Spirit River and us and it just happened that we had to play each other in the semifinal than the final,” said Reiling of Spirit River who easily dispatched Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans in the gold-medal game with the Queens doing the same to the Peace High Nomads in the bronze-medal game. “We walked through our pool where we were only pushed maybe one game where the only sets we dropped were in the semifinal. Even the third-match for us the scores were 25-10, 25-12. We were definitely there to try and repeat so we had to beat everyone anyways. The girls played well and left everything on the court, but it was funny where after the bronze-medal match, we had played with so much emotion that we typically don’t play with being so even keeled and quiet. After the third-place match the girls didn’t know whether to cheer or celebrate because it was sort of bitter sweet.”
Bitter sweet not only from the fact the Queens fell just short at repeating as provincial champions, but also realizing the season was over for a senior class that medaled every season of their high-school lives along with building some solid friendships on and off the court.
“You start to see the tears flow down which is great where I had to choke back the tears too because we had a great year and we diid so much. For six of those girls they had three great years,” said Reiling. “For my girls it was a reality this was over where they didn’t want it to be over and I didn’t want it to be over. I was proud of them because they easily could of folded and mailed in that third-place match. They were wounded and kept it in check and ended their season on a high note where we walked all over them. Usually that third-place match is a bit of a toilet-bowl game where no one wants to really be playing it. But we went out there and totally dominated. We finished the way I hoped for those girls who had such a great career.”
The Queens ended its season 68-2 in match play for the 2013 season. Finishing third in the province in 2A, the Queens were also undefeated against eventual 3A provincial girls champions and demolished the 1A girls provincial champions in previous tournament play.
“We played well all season where Spirit River just played a little better in the semi,” said Reiling of a Queens program that season after season has been extremely competitive on the girls high school volleyball scene. “”It all starts with having good kids and that’s a good starting area. I don’t have to deal with the junk a lot of other coaches have to deal with. I have good kids who enjoy coming to practice and they work hard and they get along with each other and they respect the school and program and they just want to get better. Whenever you can start with that every season, you are in a good situation.”