When you invite a collection of the best teams in southern Alberta to your backyard you don’t know what you’re going to get.
For the Foothills Falcons the destination was not where they wanted at the annual Falcons Classic senior volleyball tournament – but valuable experience nonetheless.
“We have room to grow still,” said Falcons coach Matt Armstrong. “I don’t think we’re a consolation team so we’re definitely trying to push for that top-provincial seeding. It’s peaks and valleys right now. Skill wise we’re right there with the top groups, it’s getting that all the time.”
The Falcons made the most of their situation in taking it to the Lord Beaverbrook Lords in a straight sets blowout (25-12, 25-14) to take the consolation final Saturday at the Westmount School gym.
Foothills opened game one with a pair of Matt Greenshields kills to kick-start a 10-1 run to take control of the contest.
“Minimizing errors on our side was the biggest thing,” the coach added. “Consistency is the right word, it doesn’t matter who we play we want to play the same way. If we always play the same way we can’t really argue with the outcome.
“It’s good practice for us to get out against a team that might not be as good as us offensively or defensively and really close and put them away.”
Foothills missed out on its chance to make the semifinal round in a narrow 24-26, 25-23 defeat to league rival Strathcona-Tweedsmuir, in pool play forcing the Comp into the consolation bracket.
“STS came to play and we didn’t have much of an answer for them on the defensive end,” Armstrong said. “We beat them 3-1 in league and I think we took them a little lightly and they jumped on us.
“The guys bounced back.”
The Falcons atoned for the loss in taking out the Holy Trinity Academy Knights in straight sets.
The Knights, without the services of injured big hitter Ryan Peters, put up a strong fight in dropping the first set 24-26 before running out of steam in set two.
The Knights had finished fifth in Pool D alongside some heavy hitters in Western Canada, Bishop O’Byrne and Rundle College.
“It’s been really great for us to see the teams we’re going to see at zones and league. STS, HTA are going to be the top three in league and we also have Chestermere challenging for zones,” Armstrong added. “We got a good look at everyone locally and a good look at some of the Calgary sides that are strong in the province. It was beneficial in that way.”
The Spartans, for their part, saw their tournament come to an end in the quarterfinals to a stout Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats squad.
STS earned a third place finish out of Pool E by beating the Falcons and Lakers and dropping decisions to Mt. Baker and Centennial.
The HTA Lady Knights found consolation in finishing on a high note.
HTA lorded over Beaverbrook in straight sets to nab the consolation title among the nine-team field at the Falcons Classic.
Following an even 26-24 opening set the Knights rode a 6-0 run to dispatch the Lords 25-16. Addison Glanville wrapped up the victory with a kill on the left side.
“Our girls just had excitement and had the drive to play,” said Knights coach Melanie Glanville. “We had to do a little bit of adjusting due to health. Jenna Zeller I had to switch out the right side so there was a lot of adjustment and it’s nice to see they went out with a positive attitude and they did well.”
HTA finished at the bottom of Pool C, dropping two set matches to both Western Canada and Rundle College.
“There are some very strong schools and we went in knowing we could play with them, maybe not necessarily at their level,” Glanville said. “We know how we can play, but to go against those big schools it’s hard.”
Still, the tough competition came at an opportune time.
The Foothills Athletic Council playoffs open this week with the Knights looking to retain their title.
“There is a huge impact with the girls,” Glanville said. “We’ve done well in league, but these tournaments and especially leaving on a high note will help us heading into playoffs for sure.”
Elsewhere at the Falcons Classic, the host Foothills saw their tournament run end in the quarterfinal round at the hands of Rundle. The Falcons finished second in the preliminary round in beating the Bobcats and dropping a three set nail biter to Centennial.
The Spartans saw the same fate, ending their tournament in the quarterfinal round after finishing second out of their pool.
The Foothills Athletic Council regular season is done and now it is time to play for the coveted banner.
On the girls side, the Knights and the Oilfields Drillers will square of Nov. 1 at HTA in the quarterfinal at 7 p.m. The winner will take on the second-place STS Spartans on Nov. 6 at STS.
The first-place Falcons will wait to see who wins tonight’s match between the Highwood Mustangs and Vulcan’s County Central Hawks. Foothills will play the winner in the semifinals Nov. 6 at the Comp.
The strong play of Okotoks area boys teams has all of them getting a bye to the semifinals.
The Falcons will host the semi on Nov. 6 between either the Chief Jacob Bearspaw Grizzlies or Highwood, who meet Nov. 1 in the quarters.
In the other semifinal, the second-place STS Spartans will face the third-place Holy Trinity Academy Knights Nov. 6 at STS.
The finals for both junior and senior varsity boys and girls are Nov. 8 at Alberta Institute For Spine and Sport Therapy courts at the Crescent Point Field House.