Skip to content

Spartans rebound to hit the podium

Sometimes you have to pick yourself up to stand tall.
The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans finished third at the 2A ASAA Senior boys volleyball championships on Nov. 24 in Camrose. They are, back row, from left: Jeremy Pierce-Lord, Julian Pierce-Lord, Jared Klotz, Matthew Jegen, Cole Shaigec, Aadam Nanji, Matthew Haverko, Ben Spilak, Tom Denness and Dale Roth (coach). With plaque are Alec Chunta and Hussein Ali.

Sometimes you have to pick yourself up to stand tall. The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans overcame a heart-breaking loss in the semifinals and regrouped to claim their second-straight bronze medal at the 2A Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association’s senior boys volleyball championship Saturday in Camrose. Spartans coach Dale Roth aimed to have the Spartans focused as they went into the bronze medal match against Lethbridge’s Immanuel Christian Eagles – put that semifinal loss behind them, it was history. “We talked about winning the bronze medal last year and what it meant for the guys who were on the team last year to turn it around and win the medal,” Roth said. “We fortunately had a full match rest before the [bronze medal] match. We were able to settle down, get a bite to eat, refocus and reset, so we went into the game feeling pretty good.” The Spartans were feeling pretty good mentally and as it turned pretty good physically on the court. STS swept the Eagles in straight sets 25-11, 25-23 on Saturday. “We had beaten Immanuel Christian earlier on Day 1, and that helped a little bit knowing we had what it took to beat them,” Roth said. The Spartans came oh-so-close to advancing to the tournament finals but narrowly loss to their private school rivals from Calgary, the West Island College Wolves, in a semifinal match that went into extra points before it was finally decided. The Wolves outlasted STS 16-14 in the third set to take the match 2-1. “Obviously the semifinal was pretty close and we were within one point of moving on,” Roth said. “But the other team did what it had to do in the dying minutes of the match and they were able to defeat us.” STS led the third set 13-9 and at one time were serving for the match at 14-13, but in the words of a bad 80s rock back, WIC was “hungry like the wolf.” “I give WIC full credit,” Roth said. “They didn’t give up. We kept hitting the ball at them and they kept digging it. As much as I wanted to win that one, WIC did what they needed to do when the pressure was on.” The Spartans qualified for Saturday’s playoff rounds by going 3-2 in the round robin to finish second in their pool. They opened the tournament with a bit of foreshadowing, downing the Eagles in three sets and then beat the host Camrose school in straight sets to go 2-0 on Thursday. The Spartans dropped their first set of the tourney by dropping a 2-0 decision to the eventual champions’ Elk Point’s F.G. Miller Crusaders on Friday. STS dropped to 2-2 when it lost in three sets to one of its nemeses, the Calgary Christian Cougars. “They have seemed to have our number all year, and they beat us in three in a match we could have won,” Roth said. “That meant we had to win Saturday morning.” Mission accomplished. They downed St. Augustine from Penhold to finish 3-2 and secure second-place in their pool to punch the Spartans’ ticket to the playoffs. STS swept La Crete – a team the Spartans defeated for the bronze in 2017 – in straight sets to advance to take on WIC in the semifinals. It was another successful season for the Spartans, and Roth said he is proud of his players effort. “Absolutely proud of all the guys,” Roth said. “There were guys who were with us all along – Jeremy Pierce-Lord, Aadam Nanji, Julian Pierce Lord, Cole Shaigec, our middle who played a ton.” Provincial results The Strathcona-Twedsmuir Spartans girls didn’t quite make it to the playoff round at the 2A championships also held in Camrose. But that didn’t mean STS didn’t have to put in some extra duty after the round-robin. The Spartans finished with a 3-2 record in round-robin play tying for third-place with Sexsmith. As a result, the two teams played a one-game winner take all match to determine which one would advance to the playoffs. The Spartans dropped a 25-20 decision to Sexsmith, which ended a successful year for STS. That success included a South Central 2A zone championship, earning them a trip back to provincials after a two-year absence. The 2A girls banner went to Vauxhall, which beat the Rundle College Cobras in the gold medal final. The Holy Trinity Academy Knights are chalking their trip to Grande Prairie for the 4A ASAA Senior boys championships to experience. The young Knights didn’t win a match against the top teams in Alberta, 4A is for schools with enrolments of more than 800 students. HTA, which is slightly more than 850 students, was up against some of the biggest schools in the province. The 4A champions were Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Raiders who downed the Western Canada Redhawks for the gold medal. While the Knights were fighting it out with the big schools, at the other end of the scales, the tiny Brant Christian School Eagles were competing in the 1A provincials in Bashaw. The Eagles, which consist of many players from the Foothills area, finished 2-2 at the tournament. The 1A title was won by Senator Gershaw Gators. For full provincial volleyball results go to