Nova Scotia volleyball team opens with victory over Saskatchewan

Matt Veno
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TRURO - It didn't take long for Nova Scotia's girls volleyball team to get its first test of the Canada Games.
But the second and bigger test comes today. The squad, which features four players (Lauren Sears, Hilary Sears, Ali Beaver, Anastasia Callaghan) from Colchester County faces No. 1 ranked Ontario today after handing Saskatchewan, also considered to be a heavy hitter, a five-set loss (18-25, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 15-9) Monday.
The girls are looking forward to the
challenge.
"We're pretty hyped up," said Beaver, who had 20 digs against Saskatchewan. "We're having a meeting right now and refocusing for Ontario. They are ranked the highest and are favoured to win so we've got to be ready."
Today's tilt will be Ontario's first of the Games.
Nova Scotia's goal is to make the playoff round, then nab a medal. To do that the team needs to win at least two matches in preliminary play and although it may seem discouraging to face such a tough schedule to open the event, coach Darren Russell, also from Truro, said his team is happy to have the opportunity to prove itself in the early going.
"Absolutely," he said. "The girls are focused and they want to play Ontario and B.C. and ideally if we can get a win in one of those we could finish first or second in our pool for sure."
Beaver agreed.
"We think it's good because a lot of the big teams are starting slow and for us to start fast we don't have to work up to that. We're already there."
But Beaver pointed out she and her teammates will have to execute better to steal a win today.
"We can't make any errors and we've got to take care of our side of the net. It's going to be the hardest match of our pool we think."
Unforced errors were the only blemish on Nova Scotia's performance Monday. But Russell attributed those to the players' nervousness. With Ontario and B.C. expected to be strong, the final berth could come down to a battle between Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, meaning Monday's victory could be significant.
"We made errors we didn't make all year," Russell said. "It was our first match and the girls knew we had to win and we didn't have any tape on them so we didn't know what to expect."
In other action today Nova Scotia's male soccer team opens its run at the Games against the Yukon at 5 p.m. at UPEI. Truro's Sandy Hunter is a centre midfielder with the team. His brother Matthew will be in the pool at UPEI when he competes in the special Olympics 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke.

sports@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Canada Games

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario Colchester County B.C. Newfoundland and Labrador Yukon

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