It was volleyball at its finest.
In a Lacombe versus Lacombe matchup, the Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS) Rams and the Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) Knights senior boys took to the court at LCHS to battle it out this past Monday.
With both teams favouring an aggressive and power-heavy style of play, it made for an exciting game to watch.
Despite establishing a lead early on in the first set, CACHS fell behind when they backed off later in the set and the Rams seized the opportunity to gain control of the court and the game.
Knights Coach Mel Brandsma said that his team may have become too confident after their lead early in the first set and as a result backed off, allowing LCHS to close the gap.
“We backed off and they responded,” said Brandsma. “We really took our foot off the gas.”
Running on the momentum of their first set win, LCHS went on to win the second set as well and it looked like they might take the game in a three set sweep. However, a Knights victory in the third set broke the Rams momentum and shook them up enough for the Knights to take a second win in the fourth set, forcing a fifth set to 15 points.
Rams Coach Kevin Frank said changes to the lineup in the third set and a slow start for the Rams led to that loss of momentum.
“We didn’t come out with a lot of pop,” said Frank. He added that, when his team needs to learn to come back when it does lose momentum. “They need to learn to bring the fire back.”
While all the sets of Tuesday’s game were close and filled with highly competitive play, none matched the electricity of the final set. The Knights were off to a great start with a long string of point-scoring serves but about halfway through the set the Rams did manage to ‘bring the fire back’, breaking the Knights serve and going on to win the final set and the game.
Keeping control of the net was key to winning the game, said Frank.
“Whoever won the net won the sets,” said Frank. He went on to say that the Knights were able to break the Rams’ momentum in the third set by gaining control of the net through great blocks and hits.
Frank added that it was the same strategy the Rams used to regain control of the game in the final set.
“Winning the net gives you momentum,” said Frank.
Brandsma added that there were too many unforced errors on the Knights’ part and that the Rams adjusted much better to the Knights’ offensive. He added that, while the Knights’ power may have been it’s greatest strength, not all hits made by the Knights were accurate, making their power a null point.
The Rams victory over the Knights brought their record this season up to 2-1. For the Knights, it was their first loss of the season.
Brandsma said that losing isn’t always a bad thing. He said that losing a tough game forces the team to learn more than they might from a win
“You need these games,” said Brandsma. “There should be more of a learning curve after a loss than after a win.”
There is a history between the Knights and the Rams, said Frank. Players from both teams have played together at clinics and drop-ins, creating an interesting dynamic and great sportsmanship between the two teams.
Frank called the relationship between the LCHS and CACHS volleyball teams ‘a rivalry in the absolute best sense of the word’ and is already looking forward to the rematch between CACHS and LCHS in early November where both the boys and girls teams will play.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Frank. “It’s just a great atmosphere.”