By Sean Rooney on October 21, 2016.
Two seasons. One win. No wonder Decker Mainil wanted to leave.
Mainil and teammate Tyler Olson both left Olds College’s men’s volleyball team this season not knowing how they’d be received by the Medicine Hat Rattlers. All they knew is â€”on the court at least â€” it couldn’t get any worse.
“Olds was good because it allowed me to get my diploma and further my education,” said Mainil, a middle hitter. “But this year is about winning and I think we’ve got the team.”
Fittingly, their first game with their new squad is a matchup against their former side. The Broncos visit the Snake Pit at 8 p.m. tonight and again at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Coach Mark Porter said from the outset they wouldn’t be starters if they switched schools. The Rattlers were 16-8 last year and got to the conference semifinals. But coming off the bench still sounded better than last year’s 1-23 Broncos campaign.
“I know they told one of the guys three weeks ago they were nervous already,” said Porter. “I think this weekend, if all goes according to plan they’ll both play a predominant role. I think they’re excited about it but a little bit nervous.”
Returning Rattler Joel Kotyk was childhood friends with Olson, which is where the idea came about. But nerves might not be as big of a deal tonight, as Mainil says only two players remain from last year’s Broncos. They even have new jerseys.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “Medicine Hat’s given a lot of opportunity, it’s a really strong program.”
With setter Cole Sanderson and conference player of the year Isak Helland-Hansen both back, Medicine Hat’s main focus this weekend is not to let their guard down and amp up. Red Deer, which won the conference last year, is next weekend.
“It’s been too long,” said Porter. “We’ve been going for two months of practice without a meaningful game to this point.
“It’ll be interesting to see how we respond.”