Kodiaks defend volleyball championship titles
Revenge is sweet, especially when there’s a title on the line. It’s even sweeter if it’s back-to-back championship wins.
The St. Martin de Porres Kodiaks senior volleyball team achieved both after defeating Bishop McNally High School 3-1 to win it’s second consecutive Calgary Senior High School Athletics Association (CSHAA) volleyball title, Nov. 17.
After cruising through the playoffs, facing off against Bishop McNally was a bit daunting for the Kodiaks.
The team was upset by the Calgary high school in the semi-finals of Airdrie’s home tournament earlier in the season and then again in the final game of the regular season.
“We went the whole season without losing a set except to them,” said Chad McMonagle, Kodiak’s co-captain.
“It was kind of scary going in,” added Brett Goodman, the team’s second captain. “We had to beat them for sure. We ended up losing the very first set, which was scary. We had to shake off the nerves and bounce back right away.”
It was a blast from the past that set the team back on the path to victory. Head Coach Edmund Crame showed the team the final point from last year’s championship victory and the team won three unanswered sets to take back the title.
“It’s nice to finish our Grade 12 year winning cities,” said Chad McMonagle. “It was an awesome feeling and our coaches deserved it.
“It’s huge because three or four years ago, nobody really cared about sports (at the school). Mr. Crame did a good job of bringing sports in and putting banners up on the wall is huge.”
Despite the fumbled first set, Crame said his confidence in the team never wavered. The key was making sure they had confidence in themselves.
“We knew coming in we were going to be a strong team,” he said. “And we knew coming into the championship game that it was going to be tough. They had one really big kid we knew we had to shut down and we were pretty effective with that.
“It was trying to remind the kids how much confidence they’ve had all season. Some people think it might be cockiness, but sometimes in those big moments, you have to assert yourself as the one to beat and I think for them, the biggest weakness was the doubt in their head that they weren’t the best or that there were questions of their ability.”
The Kodiaks’ junior volleyball team also capped off a perfect CSHAA season by retaining it’s Mountain division title with a 3-0 win over Bishop McNally 3-0, Nov. 16.
“It was really, really fun,” said Colin Hillson, one of the team’s rookies.
“We’re pretty proud to put the banner up for our school.”
It was an easier road to the finals for the junior team, which didn’t drop a set in the three playoff rounds, but the win is the beginning of a legacy that the players are happy to be apart of.
“It’s pretty great knowing that we’re becoming a dominant force now,” Hillson said.
“St. Martin’s used to be the team that placed last every year, but now we’re starting to win consistently. A lot of it is having confidence in our ability. We have talent coming from all different sports, so we’re combining our abilities to make our team better.”
With a large number of players returning next year and the success that juniors have had, McMonagle and Goodman feel their leaving the senior team in good hands.
“I definitely think they have another two years of banner contending teams,” Goodman said.
The senior team competed at the 2A Provincials in Kiscoty, Nov. 22 to 24. Results were not available at press time.