Cedar hopes home court is an advantage

Nanaimo gets one last high school volleyball tournament this week, and it’s kind of a bonus.

The Cedar Spartans stepped up to host the senior AA girls’ provincial championships part of the way through the season when another school backed out. The tournament begins Thursday (Nov. 29).

“It’s such a special opportunity,” said Bill Rounis, coach of the Spartans girls. “This is the closest thing that a high school can come to hosting the Olympics. It’s the biggest event we have.”

Like the Olympics, multiple venues will be used. The gyms at Cedar Community Secondary School and John Barsby Community Secondary School will host matches Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Wellington Secondary School’s gym will host pool play Thursday.

It's not just sports fans that will benefit from having provincials in the city – Rounis said the tournament's host hotel is completely booked, and said he's received e-mails, for example, from people seeking restaurant recommendations.

It will be a spirited week of volleyball, even moreso if the host Spartans can make a good run. Cedar is the only local team, and goes in as the No. 13 seed.

“We know we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Rounis said. “But it’s certainly an opportunity for us, and having the strength of such a positive, big crowd behind us is going to be maybe that extra boost that we need.”

GAME ON … Cedar plays Thursday at 10:15 a.m. and 12:55 p.m. in its home gym, then at 3:35 p.m. at Barsby. Friday’s crossover play goes from 10 a.m.-7:15 p.m. and Saturday’s playoff matches begin at 9 a.m. The provincial championship match will be played at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Cedar gymnasium.

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