KENSINGTON – The final of the 44th annual Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School (KISH) Volleyball Extravaganza did not disappoint.
The Cobequid Educational Centre Team One Cougars posted a hard-fought 25-19, 25-21 victory over the Charlottetown Rural Raiders at the KISH gymnasium on Saturday evening, to repeat as tournament champions.
“It was pretty even,” said longtime Cougars head coach Bob Piers. “Rural played very well. They have a good team and are very consistent, they don’t make many mistakes.
“Their serve receive improved a lot. We played them earlier in the day (in the preliminary round) and they had a lot of trouble with our serves, but they did a much better job (in the final).”
KISH’s tournament is the unofficial kickoff to the 2018 school season.
“It was definitely a great start to the season for sure,” said Raiders head coach Carrie MacKay. “There was a lot of good competition at the tournament.”
MacKay was proud of how her young team, which includes two Grade 12s, three returning Grade 11s and seven new players, went toe to toe with Cobequid, a perennial powerhouse.
“It could have went either way for sure,” said MacKay. “We definitely have things to work on.
“Cobequid is a super strong team every year, so I was just happy to be as close as we were with them, and we will see them in two weeks (at the Cobequid tournament).”
In the end, Piers felt Cobequid’s experience may have been a factor in the final, but he certainly liked what he saw from the Island teams.
“A number of the P.E.I. teams were playing at a much higher level than they have been,” said Pierce. “P.E.I. volleyball is on the rise again.”
MacKay said one area the Raiders will be working on is defensive positioning. However, with the team roster just finalized last week, she acknowledged there wasn’t a lot of time to practise heading into the KISH tournament, which attracted teams from Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
“Some of the girls would get caught out of position on defence, and a spot on the floor would be open,” explained MacKay. “Cobequid is a strong team, they would see that and put it there.”
Rural’s cross-city rivals, Colonel Gray Colonels, took home the bronze medal after defeating Halifax West 25-20, 25-20.
The host Kensington Torchettes were sixth out of 13 teams after the preliminary round, and lost a close quarter-final match to the Raiders. The scores in both sets were 25-22.
“From our perspective, we won some and we lost some, but it’s a process and this is the start of the year,” acknowledged Torchettes head coach Richard Younker. “We saw some really good things, and saw some things we have to work on.”
Overall, Younker, who also doubles as tournament organizer, was pleased with how the two-day event went.
‘In terms of organization, everything went great,” said Younker, a teacher at KISH. “The teams had a good time, the players had a good time and the matches were good. We had a lot of parity this year, a lot of the matches were close.”
KISH Volleyball Extravaganza round-robin standings:
1. Cobequid Education Centre (CEC, Truro, N.S.) One
3. Bluefield (Hampshire)
4. Three Oaks (Summerside)
1. Charlottetown Rural
2. Parkview (Bridgewater, N.S.)
3. Sydney Academy
1. CEC Two
2. Colonel Gray (Charlottetown)
3. Halifax West
KISH Volleyball Extravaganza playoff results:
CEC One defeated Sydney Academy 25-18, 25-18.
Halifax West defeated CEC Two 25-17, 22-25, 15-12.
Charlottetown Rural defeated Kensington 25-22, 25-22.
Colonel Gray defeated Parkview 25-15, 25-15.
CEC One defeated Colonel Gray 25-16, 25-12.
Charlottetown Rural defeated Halifax West 17-25, 26-24, 15-13.
Colonel Gray defeated Halifax West 25-20, 25-20.
CEC One defeated Charlottetown Rural 25-19, 25-21.