SCI Rams wins first provincial volleyball title

The Stonewall Collegiate Rams junior varsity girls' volleyball team won the MHSAA Provincial AAA Junior Varsity Girls Volleyball Championship with a 25-18, 13-25, 18-16 win over the College Jeanne-Sauve Olympiennes at Linden Christian School in Winnipeg, Man. on Nov. 22, 2019. (Photo submitted by Shae-Lynn Johnson)

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The Stonewall Collegiate Rams junior varsity girls’ volleyball team made history by capturing the school’s first-ever provincial volleyball title.

The Rams won the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association’s Provincial AAA Junior Varsity Girls’ Volleyball Championship in a three-set thriller 25-18, 13-25, 18-16 over the Collège Jeanne-Sauvé Olympiennes in the final at Linden Christian School in Winnipeg on Nov. 23. SCI’s Charli Reimer was named the tournament’s most valuable player while her teammates Grace Fines and Alex Clark were also named to the tournament all-star team.

Stonewall had entered the tournament as the eighth seed, but were undefeated on its way to the title. Curtis Grieve, who coached the team with Shae-Lynn Johnson, told The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times the Rams often played better than its seeding had indicated.

“I think we had higher expectations than an eighth seed coming into provincials (would have),” Grieve said. “In our tournament schedule, we unfortunately didn’t match up with the AAA schools. We played more of the AAAA schools than the AAA schools throughout the season.”

SCI defeated the host Linden Christian Wings, the Westgate Wings and the Virden Bears in pool play, but because of its seeding were placed fifth going into the playoffs. In the first round on Nov. 22, the Rams defeated the R.D. Parker Trojans from Thompson 25-6, 25-20. In their quarterfinal against the top-seeded Niverville Panthers, Stonewall defeated them 29-27, 25-13 to advance to the next day’s semifinals against Linden Christian. The Rams disappointed the home crowd by winning 25-22, 25-9 and moving on to the gold medal game against the Olympiennes.

In the third set, the Rams saved three match points against second-seeded CJS before winning on their only championship point.

“I remember looking at the girls and saying, ‘If somebody promised you in September you would have one game to 15 to win the provincial championship, how many of you would jump all over that?’” Grieve recalled. “Overall, I would say that of all the teams in the tournament, our (roster) balance was probably the advantage … We had all of our girls compete.”

“I told the girls that it was 0-0, it was anyone’s game and the winner of the next 15 points will take the championship. So it was a clean slate after that second set,” Johnson said. “The girls rose to the challenge and played harder with every single team that we faced.”

The Neelin Spartans defeated Linden Christian 25-19, 25-23 in the bronze medal game.

Wildcats win silver

The Warren Collegiate Wildcats junior varsity girls’ volleyball team took home silver medals from the MHSAA Provincial A/AA Junior Varsity Girls’ Volleyball Championship at Centre scolaire Léo-Remillard in Winnipeg after a 25-14, 25-19 loss to the St. Paul’s Barons from Elie in the final on Nov. 23.

The Wildcats, coached by Andrea Schutz, were seeded seventh and finished 2-1 in pool play, beating the Carberry Cougars and Prairie Mountain Predators and losing to the Glenboro Panthers. Ranked sixth in the playoffs, WCI won 25-15, 25-21 against the Rosenort/St. Jean Baptiste Redhawks in the first round on Nov. 22 before upsetting the second-seeded Killarney Raiders 21-25, 25-14, 15-12 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 23. Later in the day, the Wildcats advanced to the championship game with a 25-22, 25-14 victory over the Major Pratt Trojans from Russell in the semifinals.

WCI’s Allyssa-Lynn Proctor and Abby Cassidy were both named to the tournament all-star team.

Warren’s junior varsity boys’ volleyball team went winless at the MHSAA Provincial A/AA Junior Varsity Boys’ Provincial Championship played in Lorette, St. Pierre-Jolys and Winnipeg. Seeded 11th, the Wildcats lost to the Landmark 96ers, MacGregor Mustangs and Immanuel Christian Falcons in pool play before losing to the Barons 25-17, 25-14 in the first round of the playoffs.