Blain Cranston and team Alberta take second at NTCC U19 national tournament

To qualify for the final roster Cranston was part of a group of 30 players invited to two try outs in Edmonton in Calgary. The roster for the tournament was the selected based off of the showings of each player. 

With Fort St. John being located in the north part of B.C. near Alberta, Cranston explained it was always easier going to Alberta to further develop his game than stay in the province. 

“Growing up going through the club system, Fort St. John was always so far north that it made a lot more sense to participate in the Alberta Volleyball Association rather than go to the B.C. club tournaments. I got an invite for this team and Alberta is a powerhouse in terms of volleyball. I had been away from B.C. for a few years with not going to school in B.C. and being in Grande Prairie for club volleyball and school volleyball,” he said.

Cranston played the role of setter on the team and started a few games as well. It was the first time he took part in the tournament but he didn’t feel nervous on the court.

“Nerves wise it’s something that I’ve gotten use to at this point. I’m at a level now where that’s something you should have under control. I always have those nerves and they’ll always be there but they don’t really affect me too much any more with the level I’m playing at now,” he explained. 

The team breezed through the round robin portion of the tournament with wins over Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the Ontario under 18 squad. Their play earned them a bye into the semi final against B.C. and moved on to face the Ontario under 19 team in the final. The under 19 team proved to be too difficult of a task as they won 25-20, 28-26, and 25-23.

The result was a bittersweet feeling for Cranston who wanted to continue Alberta’s run of success in volleyball as of late but the accomplishments of his team is something he is well aware of. 

“It sucked when we came second. That’s not what we had in mind at all going into that tournament. Alberta has had a very successful year in terms of volleyball winning both men’s and women’s college nationals and men’s CIS national titles so it’s something we wanted to maintain,” he stated. “In the end it’s something to be proud of as I look back on it now. It was a great tournament and a great experience. It’s too bad we couldn’t win it but that’s still something to be very proud of to be second nationally ranked. I’m proud and happy with my team.”

The tournament serves as an audition for players taking part to potentially join the national team in the future. 

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