A pair of Junior Wesmen volleyball teams have booked their spots in the top tier of the club national championships later this month.
The Jr. Wesmen 18U boys team won the provincial gold medal last weekend in Brandon, while the Jr. Wesmen 18U girls team battled to a bronze-medal finish, ensuring they will compete in the top division at nationals, which are slated for May 19-22 in Edmonton.
On the boys side, the Jr. Wesmen earned a level of redemption by coming from behind to beat the WinMan Warriors 2-1 (21-25, 25-19, 16-14) in the championship. Down a set, the Jr. Wesmen rallied to win Set 2 and then overcame an 8-6 third-set deficit to knock off the Warriors, the team that beat them in pool play.
The Jr. Wesmen battled to a 2-1 record in pool play, including a 2-1 (21-25, 25-22, 15-13) thriller against United 17U. In the playoff round, the Jr. Wesmen knocked off the Brandon's BVC in the quarter-finals and again got past United 17U in the semifinal to set up the showdown with WinMan.
It was the second year in a row this group won the provincial championship, after taking the title in U16 category last season.
Isaiah Olfert was named tournament MVP and teammates Jaxen Loeppky and Darian Koskie were named tournament all-stars for the Jr. Wesmen.
The team was coached by Wesmen alumni Rob Olfert and had current Wesmen Evan Alexander as well as former Wesmen Nolan Parrington and Riley Delavau as assistants.
On the girls side, the Jr. Wesmen prevailed in a three-set thriller (25-23, 21-25, 15-10) against the Jr. Bisons.
Janet Clegg, the sister of current Wesmen men's setter Mikael Clegg, was named to the tournament all-star team.
The team got into the playoff round by winning both of its matches in pool play, knocking off Brandon's Cats 18U 2-0 (25-19, 25-20) and the Storm 2-0 (25-9, 25-18).
Elsewhere on the weekend, a pair of Wesmen men's team recruits were also singled out for their play. Nigel Nielsen, Larry McKay's first commit in the class of 2018, was named the tournament MVP for WinMan Clutch in the 18U class, and Austin Anderson was a tournament all-star in the same age group for the Jr. Pilots.