Bobcats With the Bump, Set, Spike! in the Seton Volleyball Tournament

Aaron E, Editor-In-Chief

With every year comes a new eighth-grade class. And with every new eighth-grade class comes a new team participating in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton volleyball tournament. This year, unlike last, both the girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams qualified for the tournament. The girls’ team qualified as the 20th seed out of 32 in the Division 2 bracket. The boys qualified as the third seed in pool B in the boys tournament. The St. Robert squad is giving other teams a run for their money with their promising skill. 


The Seton volleyball tournament follows a similar style to March Madness, where there are single-elimination games that lead up to the grand finale, where the final two teams duke it out for volleyball glory. In the girls’ bracket, there are 32 teams. However, the boys’ competition runs a bit differently. There are four pools with five teams in each pool. During the tournament, each team plays four games to determine who will advance and who will be eliminated. The top three teams from each pool advance to the next round–with the number one seed getting a bye–in a bracket-style format similar to the girls’ division. 


When asked about how the girls’ team felt going into the tournament, eighth grader Madison said, “I think our team has worked really hard this season to get better and to make the Seton and I am really glad that we did because it is a big part of the eighth-grade experience. I also think that our team has deserved this spot in the tournament because we have shown a lot of improvement.”  Being in the Seton has been something that every eighth-grade volleyball player has been waiting for since they were kids. She also mentions that the Seton is a big part of the eighth-grade experience, which holds true for a lot of people. Madison also said that “I’m not exactly sure where our team will place. It’s all a matter of chance, and it depends on who we play and how we play as a team together.” 


On the other side of the spectrum, the girls’ coach, Mrs. Grindle, had many promising things to say about the girls’ team. She claims that “the girls have put in a tremendous amount of work and effort throughout the years that helped them make it to the tournament. It was good to see them rewarded for their hard work.” When asked about which player had shown the most improvement throughout the season Mrs. Grindle said that she has “seen all of the players make really big strides, but it has been great to see Julia turn into a good quality setter.”  


On November 1, the girls went up against St. Boniface. The games in the girls’ division went to five sets, which is something no eighth-grade volleyball team is used to. However, the girls got off to a hot start but lost the first set by three points. The girls had a chip on their shoulder after that first set, but they looked to bounce back in set two. This proved to be the case with a win by three points in set two. The team’s adrenaline was running high, but it didn’t faze the Bobcats at all. The team won the third set by eight points. The girls were only one set away from advancing to the next round. However, the team lost the fourth set by 11 points. This meant that the game would come down to the final set. During the fifth set, the St. Robert student section was rocking and rolling to support their team. The girls got off to a slow start, but a strong serving run from Josie tied up the game. The next couple of points went to St. Boniface, which put the Bobcats further away from winning. Then, the Bobcats earned some points back, placing a win within reach. Despite their sincere effort, the Bobcats fell short. They lost the final set 15-11. 


On the other hand, the boys’ team hoped to go even further than the girls’ team. The boys ended the regular season with a final record of 1-10. That record doesn’t look so great on paper, but the boys’ team showed flashes of brilliance during their season. However, that one win was enough to qualify for the Seton tournament. The boys’ team had a pool that consisted of Holy Apostles, St. Eugene, All Saints, and St. Alphonsus. The boys’ team lost to Holy Apostles during the regular season, but they hadn’t seen the other teams play before. 


The St. Robert team combined with Holy Family to form their volleyball team this year. One of the newcomers from Holy Family also happened to be the new head coach of the St. Robert Bobcats. Coach Johansen brought a vast amount of volleyball experience to the team which improved the skills of each player. Coach Johansen said great things about the improvement of the team throughout the season: “There has been a lot of great progress during the season. [Coming in as a new coach in the community] made it more difficult to find everybody’s skillset but we’ve settled into a good rhythm.” As the tournament ticked closer and closer, the team was trying their best to put together a good run in the tournament. 


The boys started their Seton tournament run on Halloween night. The team played four games–each game going to two sets, so ties were a possibility–on the first night. During their first game, the Bobcats got off to a hot start thanks to some great serving runs. They won the first set against St. Alphonsus, but they did not win the second set. Then, the team played their next game against a fierce opponent, Holy Apostles. The Bobcats tried their best, but they didn’t win either set. The Bobcats then took to the court against All Saints, where they tied 1-1 once more. Since the standings were determined by sets won, the Bobcats held a 2-4 record. Their next game against St. Eugene was a must win if they wanted to advance to the next round. The Bobcats started fiery with many powerful hits and serves. The first set was close, but the team pulled off a victory. The Bobcats had one more set until they could advance to the next round. The next set was very close as well, but the Bobcats pulled through with a victory. This was a monumental triumph for the St. Robert Bobcats! 


After their huge victory, the boy Bobcats would place third in their pool. Because of this, they would face the second-place team in pool B, which happened to be St. Boniface. The St. Boniface team would be a tough opponent, but the team hoped to advance to the next round. The team would have to play a five-set game against St. Boniface, which would be grueling in the long run. 


The game started with high intensity as both teams began strong. The first set was neck and neck up until the final points, where the Bobcats were victorious. They were leading 1-0 going into the second set. In the next set, there was a slight lineup change from the first, which caused some issues. These problems lost the team the second set by 14 points. There was low morale going into the third set. The Bobcats fell short and lost by seven points. That meant they were down three sets to two in a do-or-die fourth set. The Bobcats started off with better spirits and focus while taking a hold of a solid lead. However, as time wore on, they slowed down, which allowed St. Boniface to pull ahead. St. Boniface kept this lead, and the Bobcats fell short in the fourth set. They lost the game. 


All in all, both the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams played very hard in the Seton. Unfortunately, they came up short, but what matters most is that they had fun. Hopefully next year, the Bobcats will go even further in the tournament. Go Bobcats!

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