Smash - Aces volleyball featured some highlight real smashes from Isaiah Staples in 2016.

Aces faced stiff competition at provincials

The Eckville Jr./Sr. High Senior Men’s Eckville Aces competed at their first provincial championship in 11 years.

The Eckville Jr./Sr. High Senior Men’s Eckville Aces competed at their first provincial championship in 11 years over the weekend at Senator Gershaw School in Bow Island, Alberta.

The Aces came into the tournament after finishing second at the zone championships in New Norway and were looking to gain invaluable 1A volleyball experience to be prepared when Eckville hosts the 2017 1A provincial championships. Unfortunately for the Aces, some tight nerves would mean that the volleyballers would be unable to win a set over the weekend.

Despite the disappointing finish, Coach Cody Magneson was pleased with his teams results at provincials.

“We had close games we were in them all the way up to 20 points but just couldn’t close them out,” he said. “We had a tough pool five of the six best teams came from our pool. The other pool unfortunately had a few teams that we have beat easily throughout the year.”

Magneson attributed to the losses to mental preparation and knows that this experience will pay off in the coming years.

“I think we tightened up,” he said. “We got nervous as we knew we were up against the best. We played hard but didn’t play loose and relaxed.”

He added that an example of nervousness was the Aces only completing on 74 per cent of their serves, down from their 88 per cent regular season mark.

“Volleyball is just as much mental as it is physical,” Magneson said. “We just couldn’t find our momentum and we played tight the whole weekend.”

While finding on-court success remained a struggle, the experience off-court in Bow Island was invaluable.

“It was an amazing experience,” Magneson said. “Senator Gershaw Bow Island put on a great event. There was 20 teams total boys and girls. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about volleyball and what it takes to be an athlete at the next level.”

Magneson was also pleased that his graduating players could finally make it to provincials after three years.

“For the seniors we have been waiting three years to get to provincials,” he said. “This year breaking through was absolutely amazing. Once you do it once, its easier to do it over and over again. We had an amazing season right from the start and the boys played hard and improved all season.”

Magneson wanted to thank his players for the season and Eckville for their support.

“It was amazing,” he said. “In a small town you get to know the guys from a young age. It is great to watch these guys grow from boys to young men and its great to know that they are ready for the real world. We would like to thank our school and our community for all our support.

“We went down there feeling like we had the support of the community and that meant a lot,” he added.

reporter@eckvilleecho.com