A grand total of 20 teams will be bumping, setting, and spiking to their heart's content this weekend at the NationsWEST Field House, as the 16U men's Sask Cup #1 is being held in the Battlefords.
This is the first Sask Cup of the volleyball season, where points are up for grabs and handed out to teams that will then help their seeding for Sask Cup #2, and then, the Sask Volleyball Provincials. After provincials is nationals, the holy grail of volleyball for club teams in Canada.
There are two Battlefords teams competing this weekend: the BBC Thunder and the BBC Lightning.
"Wherever you finish, you’re given a point value and the higher you finish the more points you have, which seeds you for the second Sask Cup" said Thunder coach Paul Sarsons, who is also the event coordinator for the tournament. "This will be the largest turnout for men’s teams in the 15/16U age category."
The turnout is so big that some games are being played at St. Mary School so that the schedule can be fit into two days.
Last year the first Sask Cup for this age category was in Moose Jaw, but the Battlefords have held Sask Cups for other age groups in the past, including the 14U women's Sask Cup #3 last year.
The Thunder team Sarsons coaches is a 16U team, while the Lightning are a 15U team that will be coached by Bruce Friesen, principal at North Battleford Comprehensive High School. This is the second year with Sarsons in charge of the 16U team, although he's been involved with the men's program for four years.
"Our players are made up of Comp players, John Paul II players, as well as the surrounding area, so specifically Glaslyn and Cut Knife," Sarsons said. "There will be four games within each pool and then there’s crossovers and playoffs.”
There are four pools with five teams each.
The Lightning are in pool A with Swift Current Junior Sundogs, Saskatoon White, Rustlers Volleybal Club, and Kipling Attack.
The Thunder are in pool C with the Rustlers 16U, Meadow Lake Heat, South East Giants, and Saskatoon Rascals.
The tournament will run from Saturday morning at 8 a.m. until Sunday afternoon with the last game beginning at 3:45 p.m.
Spectators can watch free of charge.
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