Lacombe Lithium played well, but had to settle for silver after its home tournament this past weekend.
On March 8, the Lacombe Lithium U14 Girls Club Volleyball Team hosted their home tournament at Ecole Lacombe Junior High School. Lithium lost the final game to the Sylvan Lake Wave and finished with the silver medal.
Lithium Coach Derek Rankin said the Lacombe team played well overall and actually beat the Wave in the tournament’s round robin.
But in the championship game, his players seemed a little nervous and were lacking aggression, something the Wave was quick to take advantage of.
“They had our number in the final,” said Rankin.
Rankin went on to say that he felt Lithium and Wave were ultimately two very well matched teams.
He added that the sets were tight and Lithium still played well in the final game.
Overall, Rankin said Lithium had a strong showing at the tournament. In particular, the players’ serving and hitting were strengths that showed and served the team well, he added.
Varying consistency during games, something Rankin said has been a bit of a theme with Lithium all year, was a bit of problem during the tournament.
Rankin said the team had a tendency to get a few points up on an opponent and then let off the gas.
While the players have no problem being competitive with stronger teams, they also have a tendency to lose some of that competitiveness when playing weaker teams, said Rankin.
“They play up to their competition, they also play down to their competition,” said Rankin.
Lacombe Lithium is a club team that does not play in a league, said Rankin. Instead, the club spends their season entering a number of tournaments.
Rankin said Lithium has played strongly all year, finishing well in a number of tournaments including taking first place in a recent Camrose tournament and sixth place out of 30 in a premier tournament in Edmonton.
In a few weeks, Lithium will wrap up their season with a tournament in Okotoks, added Rankin.
Lack of the aggression needed to finish off a game, what Rankin refers to as “killer instinct,” is one thing that the Lithium needs to improve, he said.
On the other hand, Rankin said the team’s biggest strength is how they have bonded as a team.
Lithium is made up of strong players who have played together for a long time in a number of different sports, Rankin said.
As such, the team works well together and has solid fundamentals, strengths that come from playing the sport for a few years.
“They are a pretty close-knit group of girls, so they play well for each other.
“And the fundamentals are pretty strong in serving the ball, passing the ball and serve receive overall,” he said.