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Flyers cap season with silver medals at zones

F.P. Walshe Flyers boys volleyball

F.P. Walshe Flyers, who won silver medals at the 2A high school zone volleyball finals. Back row: Coach Craig Patton, Conlan Donahue, Aidan Kidd, Blake Hamilton, Avery Van Driesten, Landon Koch, Marcus Plourde, Brett Burrows, Trent Ducharme, Roland Tomter and assistant coach Shane Cleaver. Middle: Cody Van Driesten, Taylor Atwood and Clayton Dorn. Front: Duncan Smith and Justin Atwood.

F.P. Walshe Flyers capped their season by winning silver medals Saturday at the 2A high school boys’ zone volleyball finals.
The Flyers were edged by Picture Butte Kings in the championship match at Matthew Halton school in Pincher Creek.
“I was very pleased with the way the boys played,” Flyers coach Craig Patton said.
To open the two-day tournament the Flyers found themselves in a pool with Crowsnest Pass Panthers and County Central Hawks from Vulcan.
The other pool was composted of Picture Butte, Immanuel Christan Eagles and St. Mike’s Dragons from Pincher Creek.
The Flyers and Kings placed first in their respective pools after round-robin, giving both teams a bye into the semifinals.
In one quarterfinal, St. Mike’s got by Crowsnest Pass 25-19 and 25-18.
In the other quarterfinal Immanuel Christian knocked off County Central 25-23 and 25-12.
Picture Butte advanced to the finals by beating St. Mike’s 25-22 and 25-16 in one semifinal match.
The Flyers, meanwhile, had their work cut out for them to reach to finals.
In the opening set of their semifinal, Immanuel Christian won a hard-fought 29-27 decision.
The Flyers shook off that setback to rally to win the second set 25-19 to even the match and force a tie-breaker.
In that third set, the Flyers prevailed 15-10 in another hard-fought battle.
With no wild card spot available to the south zone, F.P. Walshe and Picture Butte met in a showdown for the zone title and a berth in the provincial finals at Kitscoty.
The two evenly-matched teams battled hard in the opening set with the Kings, who were seeded No. 1 going into the tournament, pulling out a 28-26 win over the No. 2 seed Flyers.
The Flyers have no quit in them, and they proved it in the second set as they fought back to even the match with a 25-19 win.
In the tie-breaker, the Kings proved a royal pain to the Flyers as Picture Butte prevailed 15-9.
“I attribute our defeat to the inexperience of some of my players at this level and at this point in the year,” Patton said.
The Flyers coach explained that Picture Butte has six veteran Grade 12 players and some Grade 11s who last year gained valuable experience at provincials.
The Flyers on the other hand, have only three Grade 12 players and no Grade 11s with any zone or provincial experience.
“This makes a hug difference at crunch time,” Patton said. “This showed in the finals as we were far too tentative in our play.”
Patton said he was proud of Grade 12 Flyers Taylor Atwood, Cody Van Driesten and Clayton Dorn, “who played their hearts out and performed very well.”
Patton is optimistic about the Flyers future.
“The hope is that this experience will only lead to great things for the returning players next season,” Patton said. “I wish my graduating players all the best in their future and I really look forward to coaching the returning players next season.”

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