Women’s volleyball upset at Provincials
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It has been nearly a decade since the women’s volleyball team won a set at the Provincial championships. The curse of the sweep has plagued the team for countless years. Nonetheless, like any other curse, all of it is a mental game. Or is it? This year’s team was ready to find out at the Provincial Championships held at Columbia Bible College.
The first challenger that the team ran into was the fifth-seeded UFV. The last time the Royals won a set at the tournament was against UFV, and this time, they wanted to make it a win. The first set of the game was a thriller. The teams traded points, rallying back and forth well past the 20 point mark. In the end, it was UFV that was able to pull ahead and take the first set.
Nowhere near finished, the Royals roared back to life. They went on a tear in the second, planting balls all over UFV’s side of the court. Though the curse was the last thing on their minds, the Royals smashed their set drought with a dominating 25-19 win.
However, UFV would not be denied. They came back swinging, catching the Royals off-guard. Their sudden burst ended the Royals’ momentum and they were able to push through Douglas’ blockers, ultimately taking the set.
With their backs against the wall already, things were not looking great for the Royals. They needed to win two straight sets to come back. They were able to pull this off last time against UFV but this was on a much bigger stage.
As prepared as they were, they still could not find a way to come back into the game. The fourth set started out poorly for the squad as they went down early. They fought valiantly to stay in it, but their efforts were not enough, as UFV finished the upset, taking the last set 25-21.
Darby Dunn won a Player of the Game award to add to her impressive year, but the Royals failed to pick up their first playoff victory in eight seasons. After the game, coach Kyra Iannone spoke about the team’s playoff match. “This weekend we did our best to defend our ranking going into the match. The girls were prepared mentally, tactically, and physically for the match. But like all playoff single knockout rounds, any team can win on any given night. We lost the first set 29-27. It was hard fought and had some errors so we felt pretty in control of what was going to happen next. We won set two easily and we were tied at one set each. The young guns on our team however had not been in that situation before and started to feel the pressure.”
She also provided insight into her thoughts on the overall season. “I think the girls had an unprecedented season. We had many moments that we have not had before: we had an opening weekend win, we had our first sweep at home, we had our first 3-0 win. We went into playoffs ranked higher than we ever have before at fourth and we were ranked between second and fourth the entire season. We also took our first set win in 10 years. I think all in all this season brought a major step forward for this program.”