The Fox Valley Legends once again finished among the top 1A Boys volleyball teams in the province over the weekend.
The Legends earned a 1A Boys Silver medal at SHSAA Provincials in Middle Lake.
Fox Valley went 4-0 in the round robin:
They defeated the hosts from Middle Lake in three sets to open play. The Legends then swept Arcola in two sets, topped Cut Knife in three sets, and won in straight sets over Bellevue.
“At times we were able to pass well so we were able establish middle. Once we were able to establish middle, then we were able to go to our left sides and get one-on-ones on the outsides,” said Darren Lehmann, coach of the Fox Valley Legends, on what was working through the round robin for his team. “That really helped our left sides be able to hit around the block and come up with some big points when we needed it.”
Fox Valley went on to the quarter-finals, where they handily took down Edam in two sets.
Into the semi-finals, the Legends went back-and-forth with Annaheim, grinding out a three-set win with a spot in the gold-medal match on the line.
“We dropped the first set, didn’t pass very well, and had some service errors,” said Lehmann. “When we went into the second set, just before we went on the floor, we talked and said we just have to clean up a couple things. The boys believed they could come back from it.”
“We handled them pretty easy in the second set, but that third set we got off to a rough start down 7-3. Called a timeout, then the boys came back with some very critical kills at critical times. It was nice to see in gut-check time that they came through when they needed to most.”
Now faced with a chance at yet another gold medal for the program, the Legends needed to hurdle a dominant Thunderchild team to clinch the provincial title.
“Thunderchild is a very strong team, they distribute the ball from all hitting positions, so it was hard to key in on just one person. They serve very aggressive, have an unreal setter and jump server, and kind of put us in a little bit of a hole with the serving,” Lehmann noted.
“We were down a little bit in the first, and managed to claw back with some good defense and some good blocking. It just came down to who could make the most plays,” said Lehmann.
Thunderchild took the first set 25-23.
“The second set just kind of got a little bit away from us there in terms of passing. We kind of became a little bit one-dimensional having to set a lot of left sides. Their blockers could key in on our left sides. We battled back as much as we could, but they’re undoubtedly a very good hitting team,” said Lehmann.
Fox Valley eventually fell 25-12 in the second set, settling for silver.
“Overall we were very happy with our performance this weekend. We started three grade 10s – any time you’re starting three grade 10s, sometimes you’re battling consistency issues. Over the whole season we were just trying to make sure we were consistent with our serving and passing, and it culminated in the end with a Silver medal, and we’re very, very happy with that.”
The Fox Valley boys entered the 2018 season coming off a gold medal in 2017 - the school's eleventh 1A Boys Provincial title since 2001.
Their 2018 silver medal caps off a tremendous campaign for Fox Valley volleyball as a whole, after the Senior Girls squad earned bronze at 1A Girls Provincials the previous weekend.