The under-18 Southeast Giants volleyball team finished with a silver medal in Tier 3 at the recent Canadian Open in Edmonton.
Fifty-four teams were entered in their division.
Kale Little and Keiron Gallipeau from Estevan were two of the eight members of the team.
The Giants opened the tournament by defeating Alberta's BRVC Vikings 2-0 (25-13, 25-16) and Quebec's Griffons de l'Outaouais 2-1 (24-26, 25-19 and 19-17), but losing 2-1 to B.C.'s Vernon Venom (25-20, 25-27 and 15-9).
Their 2-1 record in the round-robin allowed them to advance to next round in Tier 1.
“We faced some of the best teams in the country, we would’ve played three of the top ten teams in the tournament,” said Giants' manager Mike Little. “The average height of the teams was 6’6” or higher.”
The Giants dropped their next three games: 2-0 (25-13, 25-23) to the WinMan Legends from Winnipeg; 2-0 (25-23, 25-16) to the Durham Attack from Oshawa, Ontario; and 2-0 (25-20, 25-14) to the Pakemen 18U from Mississauga, Ontario.
The losses to those squads resulted in the Giants competing in Tier 3. The Giants went 2-1 to claim the silver medal.
They first were matched up against the 18U HVC team out of Saskatoon in the quarter-final. The Giants won the opening set 25-13 but lost the second, forcing a third set. The Giants won that one 15-13.
That win advanced the Giants to the semi-final round against the Griffons de l'Outaouais. Again it was a three set match, as the Giants won the first set 25-18, lost the second 25-18, and won the third 19-17.
After that win the Giants were in the gold medal round of Tier 3 against the Burnaby, B.C. Focus Blur. They lost the first set 25-16, but rebounded in following set, winning 25-23, forcing a final set, which was a 15-9 loss.
Throughout the tournament, Little was impressed with the defence of the Southeast Giants as he said that the team did a great job of blocking. They were up against strong competition all tournament.
“Some of these kids that we saw … are going to university and have already signed with major universities in Canada as well as the United States,” said Little.
The team is usually coached by Nathen Johnson and Dan Betnar, but both couldn't make it to the national tournament, so a coach from Moose Jaw led the team.
Little was also pleased with the overall play of the Giants.
“I was just very pleased how the local boys from here could play high calibre ball with some of the very, very best in the country, said Little.