PORT HAWKESBURY: The SAERC Saints girls volleyball team closed out its season two weekends ago when taking silver at the NSSAF Division II provincial championship.

“To win the league, the regional, and then place second at provincials – and to win the Niki King Tournament – was a pretty good season for the girls,” said coach Dave MacIsaac, following SAERC’s visit to Truro for the championship.

Host school Cobequid Educational Centre (CEC) met SAERC in the championship, and the host girls won the banner 25-15, 25-14.

“We played CEC a couple of times this year,” MacIsaac said. “We played them in Antigonish, and we split with them. We played them once in Sydney, and we almost beat them. We had them at 11-10 in the third game but they ended up winning 15-12.

“We probably played our best game of the year in Sydney against the CEC team. In Truro, we didn’t have a horrible game, but it wasn’t our best. In order to beat them, they would have had to play an off game and we’d have had to be at our best. That didn’t happen.

“Truro is basically a volleyball factory in this province. They run all kinds of volleyball programs, and it’s really hard for anyone to compete with the volleyball going on there.”

The provincials started with SAERC going 1-1 on Friday, as CEC scored a win over the Saints but the same couldn’t be said of Clare. That win over Clare put the Saints in good stead for a crossover game later in the tourney.

“What I stressed to the girls was that we needed to get off to a good start,” the coach said. “There are no second chances in a provincial championship. You lose your first match, and you’re pretty much toast.”

The Saints dropped Clare 25-22, 25-21 before losing to CEC later in the evening.

“At 9 a.m. Saturday, we had a match against West Kings,” MacIsaac said. “West Kings had been finalists at provincials last year, but they lost a lot of kids. We pulled a relatively easy win at 25-12, 25-14.”

That led to a crossover game against Middleton, who went undefeated in their pool.

“We didn’t play well in the first game,” MacIsaac said. “Their middle hitters were dominating us, and they won the first game 25-11. The second game saw us make some defensive adjustments. We defended a whole lot better, we passed, we made better first passes, and we beat them 25-12. The third game was back and forth to 7-7, then we pulled ahead and beat them 15-10.”

The Nova Scotia Student Athletic Federation remodelled its division listing this school year. As a result, the federation now operates with three divisions based on school size, not four. If the Saints were still on the Division III level, MacIsaac said, it’s likely they’d have added a new banner to their trophy case.

MacIsaac said he was proud of the players, and the players are feeling good after the event.