B.C. High School Volleyball Championships are slated for Langley at the end of the month, and a pair of South Surrey teams will be headed there as high seeds, after victories at South Fraser zone championships last week.
The Semiahmoo Totems senior girls captured the first-ever quad-A South Fraser title – the zone is new this year, after a reconfiguration – on Friday night, defeating the crosstown rival Elgin Park Orcas in the championship game.
Also on Friday night, the Earl Marriott Mariners senior boys – who have sat atop the B.C. triple-A standings for much of the season – won a banner of their own, winning the South Fraser championship game over Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons 3-0.
All four teams will advance to provincials, which are to be held at the Langley Events Centre at the end of next week.
And while it’s the Totems who will be adding another banner to the wall of the school’s gym – head coach Gord Houchen called their performance in the final the team’s “most complete game of the season” – it was the Orcas who were the talk of the tournament in the early stages.
On Wednesday, Elgin Park advanced to the semifinals after pulling off a major upset, defeating the No. 1-ranked Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 3-2.
In Friday’s final – won by Semiahmoo 3-0 (25-12, 25-18 and 25-14) – Houchen credited strong hitting from Ella Gray, Tara Wallach and Annika Vosloh for winning the first game, and heaped praise upon Nicole Pajic, Setara Aktary, Bo Stephen and Jenna Linford after their performances in the final two games.
“Strong serving” from Stephen sealed the deal for the Totems in the clinching game, Houchen added.
In the bronze-medal match, Tweedsmuir defeated Delta’s Seaquam Seahawks. Both teams advance to provincials, while Earl Marriott and South Delta can still qualify through a wild-card round this week.
Vosloh was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while all-star nods went to Gray and Wallack, Sabrina Chapman and Jasmine Caldwell (both from Elgin Park), Brooklyn Deol (Lord Tweedsmuir) and Tessa Redden (Seaquam).
In the boy’s tournament, Marriott – who have a roster of just nine players – got better as the tournament wore on, and won Friday’s final with ease, in three straight games.
“The boys are peaking at the right time,” said EMS coach Dale Quiring, adding that his shorthanded team has avoided any major injuries thus far this season, and should have a full complement of players at his disposal when provincials hit the court.
“Fingers crossed,” he said.
Though his team has been ranked at the top of the province down the stretch, Quiring said the pressure of having a target on their backs, of sorts, hasn’t caused them to falter. That steely resolve was noticeable against Fleetwood Park, he said.
“It’s their attitude and their commitment… they were read and they came out (against Fleetwood) and just showed their dominance,” he said.
“They’re hungry and ready to go.”
Triple-A senior boys volleyball provincials begin Nov. 27 at the Langley Events Centre, and wrap up Saturday, Nov. 30, while the quad-A senior girls tournament runs Nov. 28-30, also at the LEC.