Drillers block a Spartan comeback
Volleyball: Oilfields has showdown with Knights tonight
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
Someone forgot to tell an Oilfields Driller his job is to set the table for the big guys and not get his face in the way of a speeding spike to block a volleyball.
Driller setter Brady Stuart made a huge block on a Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartan with the game tied at 24-24. When the Spartans gave a soft return on the block, Driller Russell Grusing put the point away with a smash and the Drillers had a 25-24 lead.
Oilfields scored the next point to give the Drillers a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 26-24) sweep of the Spartans on Oct. 10 in Senior Boys Foothills Athletic Council action in Black Diamond.
It was the block of Stuart’s that gave the Drillers the momentum back.
“That should have been his ball,” Stuart said, while jokingly pointing at Grusing. “He wasn’t there, so I just did what I had to do.”
Drillers coach Leigh Bretzlaff called the block the turning point that gave them the match.
Grusing gave Stuart the credit for his smash in the right corner to give the Drillers the one-point lead.
“It was all him,” Grusing said of Stuart. “The ball was right there — I just went up and swang and the ball was right there.”
It was the first time in four years the Drillers defeated STS. It was a huge confidence builder for the team, according to Bretzlaff.
“We want these kids to believe in themselves — that they can compete with any team,” Bretzlaff said. “We have to take care of the opportunities when we get them.”
The Drillers seemed to have their collective foot on the neck of the Spartans when they took a commanding 8-0 lead in the third set.
However, the Spartans didn’t get the memo they were history.
STS battled back to finally tie the game at 24-24. The comeback was the highlight of a trying night for Spartans coach Dale Roth.
“That was my positive point of the night,” Roth said. “I think it showed the boys that they, if they want to do it, can do it… I think their (the Drillers) final 10 points, their big hitters had only two hits. When we put it together it was alright.”
The Spartans were missing some players and had only one man on the bench. But Roth refused to bite when asked if that contributed to the loss.
“I should be able to put six players on the court and we should be able to play regardless of what six players I have,” Roth said. “We didn’t do that tonight.”
The Spartans gave Oilfields’ big hitters, Grusing, Orrie Malmberg, Lee Ouellette and others too many opportunities to drill the ball, he said.
“Their big hitters were great but we just gave them too many free balls — we set up their offence,” Roth said. “If we don’t have an offence, they are going to do that to us.”
The match had added significance beyond being a council game as it was the first meeting between the two teams, which will vie for the 2A zone championship at Oilfields High School on Nov. 15-16.
Stuart said he hopes the win sets the team up nicely for further FAC play and ultimately zones.
“We were really close with them last year and it has been a while since we beat them,” Stuart said of STS. “It was really important to beat them to boost our confidence if we have to play them again at zones.”
Roth said despite the lopsided loss, he said the teams are virtually equal.
“That is the strongest Oilfields team I have seen in years,” Roth said.
“But I am quite confident of what my team is capable of.”
The Drillers are in first place in the council with a 4-1 record. However, powerhouses the Holy Trinity Academy Knights and Foothills Falcons are both undefeated at 3-0 and 2-0, respectively. The Falcons beat the Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks in straight sets on Oct. 9 in Okotoks.
The Drillers will have a chance to knock off one of the powerhouses as they travel to Okotoks to take on the Knights tonight, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m. The Falcons play the Strathmore Spartans in Strathmore tonight.
For more information go to www.foothillsathletics.ca