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Getting Back on the Volleyball Court

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The SVRSS gymnasium was full last week as the new school year got underway and senior and junior sports got started again.
Tryouts for all Tigers volleyball teams started last Thursday (Sept. 7), with returning players and new hopefuls showing off their stuff to allow the coaches to construct the best possible teams to represent the Swan Valley.
Senior BOYS
While the first day of tryouts didn’t have an overwhelming turnout for the Tigers Senior Boys’ team, Head Coach Janelle Smith was hopeful that once students got back into the swing of things, there would be more interest.
Some of the challenges of generating early turnout is the potential lack of awareness for new students and competing programs such as the Tigers soccer team, and the Tigers football team.
“We’ve talked with the (Tigers Boys’ soccer team regarding the possibility) that we could share some players like we did last year,” said Smith.
In addition to the first tryout practice that took place on Thursday, subsequent practices also took place on Friday (Sept. 8) and Monday (Sept. 11), as well as today (Sept. 12).
If the team has less numbers than needed for a split junior and a senior team, Smith added that they would likely combine the roster into one team, like what was done in the previous season.
Smith is hoping to improve their outcomes for end of season, despite the tough teams they have to go up against.
“Last year, we got to zones and played Dauphin,” she said. “We didn’t make it to Provincials, but Dauphin had a big crew of Grade 12s.
“They have now graduated most of their players from last year, and, as far as I know, they have only two returning players this year, so I’m hoping this is our year to win zones. But, we do have to go up against Neelin High School (from Brandon), which has about 11 Grade 12s on that team, and they’ve been winning Provincials for the past four years.”
Smith said that their best chance of making it to Provincials this year is likely through a Wild Card spot.
However, before they start thinking about end of season, the team will start their season soon enough when they attend their first tournament in Brandon next week, on Sept. 22.
Senior GIRLS
A total of 12 players attended the Tigers Senior Girls tryouts, which took place on Thursday and Friday (Sept. 7 and 8).
“The majority of our team is made up of returning players - seven total,” said Head Coach Alyssa Pitura. “Three of the girls have moved up from junior and one is playing up from Grade 10. All in all, we'll have three Grade 12s, seven Grade 11', and one Grade 10.”
Last year’s season ended with a loss to Dauphin in an inter-zone game, something the team hopes to improve on this year.
“We always want to keep improving - both on an individual level and collectively as a team,” Pitura said. “Last year, in many ways, was more of a building year and focused on understanding different aspects of the game. Now, I feel like we have a really good base to take things to the next level.
“We've added a couple of new tournaments to gain more exposure to AAA teams in the province and, ultimately, the end goal is to advance to Provincials at the end of the season.”
The team will see their first action on the court this weekend when they head to Gilbert Plains on Sept. 15 and 16.
“We are in a pool with Dauphin, Major Pratt (Russell) and Ebb N Flow,” said Pitura. “Our first game is against Dauphin on Friday afternoon and we are very much looking forward to it.”

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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