The Vauxhall Queens may not have the biggest team when they prepare to host 2A girls volleyball provincials starting today, but they certainly measure up when it comes to heart.
“We are short, so we may come across some teams that are pretty big and play big which may give us headaches,” said Scott Reiling, head coach of the Vauxhall Queens girls volleyball team.
“But in terms of Vauxhall volleyball, this is the best we’ve played and we’re ready and excited to go.”
Veteran volleyball coach Reiling added this is the strongest defensive squad he has ever coached and mixing that with a business-like approach to the game means the 2015 2A South Zone champion squad will not away quietly into the night.
“It is tough to compare from year to year. But mental toughness, this is as good for that as any team I’ve coached before,” said Reiling.
“When things start to go wrong, they find a way to put the brakes on. I’ve always had those teams that would throw points away in six packs, but this team doesn’t do that. They’ll throw one or two, then they’ll take a deep breath and somebody does something to get a point at that point. That keeps us in a lot of matches. These girls want to win, in their eyes they are not OK with just sitting back and letting some team bully them around. There is no intimidation. They have a lot of fight in them and it doesn’t matter the size of the team, they are not going to get bullied around.”
Vauxhall kicks off provincial play with a 10:15 a.m. match today against St. Joseph’s Collegiate. The team then battles Glenmary at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, with a 12:45 p.m. match against Vegreville, and then finishing off its Friday play with a 4:30 p.m. match against Rundle College. Saturday’s slate features a 9 a.m. match against Rimbey. Playoffs start at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday with the gold-medal match concluding things at 6:45 p.m.
“We don’t have a lot on the other teams, we are sort of going in blind,” said Reiling. “More blind than I normally am. Just because a couple of the big tournaments we used to go to, to see some of these teams, they didn’t do them because the weeks got messed up because of the late start and the late Labour Day. We lost one of those tournaments where we normally see these teams. So I have some scouting reports from coaches, but that first day after our first game, I’m going to sit and watch every team we are up against and get an idea of what we are up against.”
Opening ceremonies for 2A girls provincials are at 9 a.m. today at Vauxhall High School.
“We are playing as well as we ever have at this point. Previous year, I’ve gone ‘Geez, we’ve peaked and we’re on a downward slope.’ I don’t see that,” said Reiling. “The players are playing better than they ever have, so that excited me along with the home gym and the crowds we are going to have. It’s exciting for both Vauxhall and Taber, with teams staying in Taber, so it’s going to be a big week. Hopefully we can put some good volleyball together and medal or no medal, we will have smiles on our faces and we will be proud of our season.”