A High Prairie boys’ volleyball team recently finished in the top 10 at a tournament in Spokane, Washington.
The Big Lakes Barracudas Volleyball Club U-16 boys’ team placed ninth of 22 teams in the division in the Border Smackdown Tournament.
Team coach Jordan Taylor says the players came together and showed their potential at the tournament played at The Podium, which featured 16 volleyball courts.
“We are so proud of our boys,” Taylor says.
“The tournament was an amazing bonding experience for the players, coaches and the parents who went.
“Our play shows that our team has incredible potential.
“We played teams that had hundreds try out and we made them earn their wins.”
Each of the Barracuda players is very skilled, he says.
“More than that, they are extremely close off the court and support each other every step of the way and that’s what I think makes us so dangerous in any match,” Taylor says.
“Not a single match was a blowout and that alone in a testament to the skill and potential of the team.
“The sky’s the limit for these boys.”
Big Lakes was recognized by referees and coaches for the team’s sportsmanship on the court and was honoured by tournament organizers.
Players were ready to compete right from the start, Taylor says.
“When entering the venue, the boys were very impressed with how beautiful it is,” Taylor says.
“The courts are very nice, they were definitely in awe.
“If there were any nerves, they did not show.”
The Barracudas placed second in their first pool, but ended up reseeded into the toughest pool in the second round and finished fourth.
“Our competition was fierce,” Taylor says.
“We played three of the top four teams in Washington State and two of the top teams in Idaho.”
The team played eight matches overall.
Big Lakes defeated the Idaho Strike 2-1 in the quarter-finals before the Idaho Spike defeated the Barracudas 2-1 in the semifinals.
In pool play, Big Lakes beat the NW Jrs of Puget Sound 2-0.
The team lost 2-0 to SNVF Seattle (ranked No. 4 in Washington), lost 2-0 to KOKUA Spokane (No. 1 in Washington), lost 2-0 to AJAX, of Oregon (ranked nationally), lost 2-1 to Apex of northern Washington (No. 2 in Washington) and lost 2-0 to AZ of Seattle.
“Overall, everyone was was super-impressed with our play, even other parents, referees and organizers,” Taylor says.
Beside their skill, the Barracudas showed stamina. After a tough loss on the first day, Big Lakes had no break before its next match against Apex in a new pool, Taylor says.
“After having played three games in four hours, we went right into another game exhausted but played the second best team in Washington,” Taylor says.
“We took the first set 25-21 playing some of our best volleyball.”
The Barracudas lost 10-15 in the third set.
“We held it close even with no break and exhausted,” Taylor says.
“We fought through it and we received praised for many for the game, even from opposing coaches who were just watching the game.”
Barracuda coaches and players appreciate all those who supported the team to play in the tournament.
“We say a huge thank you to all sponsors and those who donated to help make this once-in-a-lifetime experience a reality,” Taylor says.
“We could not have done it without the support of the community.”
The club thanks all who were involved in fundraising and organizing the trip and allowing local fans to watch the boys on live stream.
by Richard Froese
May 28, 2023