Finishing on a high note - Moose Jaw Times Herald

August 12, 2015

Whitehead wins bronze at Western Canada Summer Games

It wasn't quite the gold medal finish that Dax Whitehead wanted.

However, the Central grad was thrilled about coming away with a bronze medal from the Western Canada Summer Games on Tuesday in Fort McMurray.

Whitehead and his teammate Colin Fraser of Saskatoon made their way onto the beach volleyball podium with a straight sets win (21-11 and 21-13) over Manitoba's Michael Corrigan and John Nieckarz.

"We're really happy about this one," Whitehead said. "We controlled the game right from the start and we executed everything that we wanted to.

"We had a couple of lapses against British Columbia that we weren't happy about in our semifinal loss on Monday, but we didn't have those problems today. We were able to get a medal which is what we wanted when we came out here."

After losing to British Columbia in the semifinal on Monday night, both Whitehead and Fraser set about a game plan to get rid of the errors that they had in that contest when they took on Manitoba.

"Our passing was mediocre and if it was just a little bit better in that game we could have had a better of chance of playing for a gold medal," Whitehead said.

"We also wanted to put the ball in a better spot and force them to make mistakes instead of allowing them to have the chance to rip the ball right back at us."

Whitehead and Fraser also took into account what they had learned from their previous meeting with the Winnipeg pair.

In round-robin play on Sunday, Saskatchewan won a tightly contested two-set affair by scores of 23-21 and 21-19.

"The game plan was the same essentially," Whitehead said. "We just wanted to be more aggressive and not give them chances to stay in the game.

"That way they didn't have any chance to pick up and keep up to our strengths."

Whitehead, who is getting ready for his sophomore season as a left side player at Lethbridge College, also praised the partnership that he had with his teammate.

Fraser, who was a CIS all-rookie team member last year as a left side player for the University of Saskatchewan, had played with Whitehead before on provincial teams.

"We both know the game fairly well which is always a good thing to have already," Whitehead said.

"Having a friendship is good too as you know everything about their strengths and weakness and you can work around that in any situation."

In addition to trying to earn a medal for his province, Whitehead also used the Summer Games as preparation for his second year in the ACAC.

"At first taking part in this was just something to do that would be a lot of fun," Whitehead said. "It turned into something more though as I use this to get more touches and get into a competitive atmosphere before I head back to school in September."

The gold medal was won by Alberta's Derek Willem Meeuwisse and Chris Brunet as the Calgary pair defeated Surrey's Devon Dunn and Kelowna's Liam Birker in straight sets (21-13 and 21-19).

After Tuesday's events, which wrapped up phase one of the Summer Games, Saskatchewan has now won 102 medals -- 19 gold, 36 silver and 47 bronze.

The second phase of the Summer Games will begin on Wednesday. Moose Jaw's Ryan Botterill will take to the diamond as Saskatchewan will open their baseball schedule against Alberta at 6 p.m.

Lucas Punkari can be reached at 306-691-1260 or on Twitter @lpunkari.

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