PORT HAWKESBURY: The SAERC Saints girls volleyball team is looking back on a season that saw them win a league title and a regional banner, not to mention the Niki King Memorial Tournament, and score a silver medal at provincials.
“It’s good to get to a provincial final,” said coach Dave MacIsaac, who added that taking silver necessarily means losing in the championship game – and, this year, that was a mighty hard pill to swallow.
Ordinarily, MacIsaac said taking silver isn’t a bad thing, but considering the Saints had it in them to win gold, the coach said the Division II provincials hosted by Middleton High School was a tough outing.
“When I look at the big picture, we had a good season,” he said. “We won the Niki King tournament, our league and our region, and we were second in the province. When you look at it like that, that’s a pretty good season.
“It’s a good experience for the players in Grade 9, 10, and 11. But it really sucks for the kids in Grade 12.”
The Saints battled Clare in the championship final, and the first set saw SAERC imposed its will in a 25-19 final. The local girls were up 17-5 at one point, and MacIsaac said his team pretty much played flawlessly.
The Saints took the lead in the second set, managing a 10-8 lead before Clare found its sealegs.
“They scored 14 points in a row,” MacIsaac said of the host squad. “They went up 22-10. They didn’t miss a pass, a set, or a swing from 10-8 to 22-10. The momentum just went their way.
“Once the momentum went around, the gym got a whole lot louder. To me, [our] kids looked like deer in headlights at that point. They were scared to make a mistake.”
After Clare won the second set, their momentum carried into the third where the final was 15-9.
“I don’t think they played as well as they could in the second and third game,” MacIsaac said. “If we had played as well as we could have, you’d be talking to the coach of a provincial championship team today.
“As one parent said to me, ‘you can give them the keys to the car but you can’t drive.’”
The Saints dropped Par-en-Bas in their first match, and they also dropped South Colchester in their second. The girls lost to West Kings in their third, but by that point SAERC had already clinched first in their pool.
The girls beat Middleton in the semi-finals, leading to the championship game and their silver medal.