The Border City Volleyball Club Tin Hats, with back row from left, coach Cory Gratton, Ryden Gratton, Gage Wolfe, Rylan Teasdale, Tristan Smith, Raphael Bartolome, coach Brent Teasdale; front row, Liam Gilby, Colby Svean, Owen Clarke, Breandan Wald and Noah Alexander, missing is Mattias Wright, won a silver medal at the Saskatchewan Volleyball championships late last month. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Everything came together at exactly the right time for the Lloydminster Border City Volleyball Club (BCVC) Tin Hats.
The Tin Hats under-14 boys team captured a Division 2 silver medal in the Saskatchewan Volleyball championships at Warman’s Legends Centre from April 28 to 29.
The club rattled off six wins, including four straight third-set victories, to earn the chance at a championship only to run into a strong Saskatoon Jeff’s Crestwear Volleyball Club (JCVC) 14U Black team in the final.
Cory Gratton, coach of the Tin Hats, said the boys were tired from a long weekend of volleyball during the gold medal game resulting in a difficult first set against the Black, but they fought back to make the opening score close at 15-25.
He said they battled hard in the second set to try and force a third only to succumb by a 20-25 mark to their bigger and quicker opposition.
“To be able to see the progress from last November to now just was quite rewarding,” said Gratton. “Our tournament prior to that didn’t go so well and it looked like we were regressing a little bit. So, to have them attend provincials and play that well right from the start was really nice to see.”
Gratton said the team’s 6-1 record at the provincial championships was a full team effort as every player received equal time on court and all of them contributed. He said the whole group bought in as soon as they saw that their hard work in practice during the season was paying dividends early on in the tournament.
“When you’re dealing with athletes who are that age you don’t really know what you’re going to get necessarily from game to game or match to match,” he said.
“It was a pleasant surprise I guess that they were able to incorporate things that we’ve been talking about throughout the season.”
The boys weren’t focused on winning a medal or making the final when they entered the provincial championships, noted Gratton, so that may have helped them maintain a steady progression as the weekend went on. He said the hope is that they’ll come back next season to finish what they started.
“Moving up to the U15 age category with that core of guys who do return next season will really help,” said Gratton.
“They can just continue on where they left off this year.”