By Ian Froese
Eastman was down more often than was comfortable in the boys volleyball gold medal game Saturday in front of hundreds at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School.
But in a duel seemingly poised to be a three-set classic, only two sets were necessary. Eastman clinched gold 25-21, 26-24, exacting revenge on a Westman squad they lost to a day before in straight sets.
Eastman coach Michelle Sawatzky-Koop marveled Saturday at the times her team rallied back.
“I didn’t anticipate being behind as much as we were in the first game, 8-3,” said Sawatzky-Koop of one of those scores.
“In some people’s eyes, we were failing, but we never quit and we ended up being winners.”
Eastman was later down by four points toward the end of the first set. They fell behind early in the second game and had to recover from a 19-15 deficit.
These teams knew a championship bout between them was possible, training together one day earlier this summer to prepare for these Summer Games.
Sawatzky-Koop credited Eastman’s familiarly with each other as an important part of their success. Much of the Summer Games’ unit played together on the Providence Junior Pilots club team earlier this year, a squad that won provincials and came second at the Western Canadian championship.
“That silver medal finish, we didn’t quite finish, and so I think that gave us a little bit of fire here,” she said.
On Friday, in a match that did not determine seeding, Westman beat Eastman 25-20, 25-18.
Winnipeg Blue clinched the bronze medal after dropping their first set 25-18 to Central. They would earn their hardware by winning the final sets 25-19 and 16-14.