As things open up to something resembling normalcy, that means more things are bound to happen on the sporting side.
One of those things is volleyball tournaments — remember those? — and the first one of its kind in more than two years happened this past weekend at Weledeh and St. Pat’s Gymnasiums.
The Crush Volleyball Women’s Tournament, hosted by the Crush Volleyball Club, brought together eight teams, all from Yellowknife, for a one-day event and when it was all said and done, Crush White ended up coming out on top by beating Crush Blue in the best-of-three final in straight sets, 2-0.
Jeannie Mathison, the club director for Crush, said having both of her teams end up in the final was a bit of an upset.
“They beat the no. 1 seeds in their pool in the semifinal,” she said.
Crush White had one of the more exciting games in the tournament as they took on That’s What She Set, one of the better women’s teams in the city, in their final-four contest. Crush Took the opening set, 25-23, before That’s What She Set rallied to win the second to set up the third-set tiebreak.
“Our girls were down, 8-1, at one point,” said Mathison. “They’re (That’s What She Set) really strong servers and there weren’t a lot of holes to find but they came back and won it, 15-13.”
The final saw Crush White win a tight first set but the second set went a bit easier as Crush Blue had trouble with their passing shots, said Mathison.
That’s What She Set went on to win the third-place game as they downed Yasss Queens.
Every team in the tournament was guaranteed at least four games and some ended up playing as many as six contests, such as the Crush teams.
Mathison said her club decided to make two even teams to give the girls as much playing time as possible.
“We split them up as evenly as we could and it showed that the work they’ve put in paid off,” she said.
This tournament was a chance for the girls to get in some playing time before heading to Edmonton at the end of this month for the 17U Alberta Provincial Championships and the Volleyball Canada 17U Nationals, which are also in Edmonton in mid-May.
“We’ve been lucky that we’ve been able to practice in the gym — that hasn’t been the case down south,” she said. “But we weren’t able to travel to compete the last two years and that’s been the difference. The teams in Alberta have been able to play the (Alberta Volleyball) Premier tournaments and they’ve had a school season as well. We just haven’t had the competitive opportunities.”
The feedback of the one-day tournament from teams that entered was positive, said Mathison, and there’s the idea of keeping this sort of format going for next season.
“They liked the fact that it was all done in one day, a long day, but it appealed to players because they knew they could go hard for one day and rest the other,” she said. “I think we could do this more regularly, maybe a series of events going from January to April. Nothing’s cemented yet but we’ll talk about it.”