The Brandon Volleyball Club came so close to reaching the semifinals at the 17-and-under boys’ club volleyball provincials, but ended up having the settle for fifth place.
The squad finished the preliminary round of the event in a three-way tie for the fourth and final playoff spot with a 1-4 record, but missed out on a top-four finish based on set differential, dropping BVC into the fifth-place match.
BVC came through with a 2-1 (25-20, 22-25, 15-12) win over the Selkirk Royals at the Healthy Living Centre on Sunday, but the players were left wondering what could have been.
"We ended up splitting with one of the two teams and if we would have won the two sets we would have gone to the semifinals," said left side Sam Isfeld. "It’s kind of tough knowing that, but there’s nothing you can do about it."
The fifth-place contest was a roller-coaster ride for BVC. The team played well in the opening set, but dug itself a six-point deficit in the second that it couldn’t overcome.
Isfeld stepped to the service line to start the third and his tough serves built up a 4-0 lead that BVC would not relinquish.
The 6-foot-0 left side from Vincent Massey finished the match with 12 kills. Seth Friesen paced the squad with 14 kills, four aces and a block.
Although BVC felt it could have received a better fate at provincials, Isfeld was happy the team built up confidence and ended the event on a positive note.
"It puts us in a better place going into nationals," he said. "Now we’re in fifth instead of sixth, so we should have some easier games now."
Nationals will be held in Edmonton from May 9-11.
The Winman Warriors went on the win the 17U provincial title with a 2-0 (25-22, 25-18) sweep of the Winman Pursuit in the final.
Meanwhile, BVC’s 18U team struggled at its provincial championship, which was also held at the Healthy Living Centre on the weekend.
BVC won just one of its preliminary round matches — a 2-0 (26-24, 25-14) win over Team Extreme — and then dropped to the fifth-place match 2-0 (25-20, 25-11) to Team Extreme.
Winnipeg-based 204 defeated the Winman Legends 2-1 (22-25, 25-20, 15-13) in the final to take the title.
In other provincials:
In Winnipeg, BVC claimed its first-ever provincial title as the Golden Bears ran the table to win the 14U title. Dayton Black was named MVP, while Liam Nohr and Reece Wilson took home all-star honours as they beat the Selkirk Royals 2-1 (22-25, 25-21, 15-12) in the final. The other BVC team placed 11th.
At Winkler, the Westman-based Storm went undefeated until the final when they fell 2-1 (24-26, 26-24, 15-13) to the Winnipeg-based Cobras. Kristine Ward and Emma Ciprick were named all-stars.
At Portage la Prairie, the Storm won their first six matches, but lost their final two to finish fourth at the 17-team event. The Storm, the top Westman squad, dropped the bronze-medal match 2-1 (20-25, 26-24, 15-10) to SISU. Setter Rylie Dickson from Killarney was named a tournament all-star.
The Storm proved to be the best Westman-based team in Winnipeg with its sixth place finish. They came into provincials ranked 12th in Manitoba but got on a roll to qualify for the fifth-place match, which they lost 2-0 (25-16, 25-14) to Dynamo. Westman Volleyball Club placed ninth.