Before hitting the court for the championship final of the Peace Arch News Classic last weekend, Holy Cross Crusaders senior girls volleyball coach Meghan Guze asked her team a simple question:
“Do you want to win?”
The other option, Guze said, was simply to go out there against one of the province’s top ranked 4A teams, Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, and without pressure, have fun.
“I could see it in their eyes that they were ready. They said they wanted to win, so we went out and did it,” Guze said.
The underdog Crusaders upset the highly ranked Panthers 2-0 (25-19, 25-20) Saturday afternoon at Semiahmoo Secondary, to capture their first-ever PAN Classic title.
Guze said “from beginning to end” the final game couldn’t have went any better for her team, and heaped praise on a handful of players, including power Elizabeth Mallari, who Guze said “was a able to dig every hard hit ball that was hit at her.”
Holy Cross setter Clarissa Madaisky led the team with the most blocks, Guze added.
“It was awesome to see the hard work they’ve put in (pay off),” Guze said.
The win also provided a measure of revenge for Holy Cross, who lost to Tweedsmuir in round-robin play, and earlier in the week, had lost to them in a regular-season tilt.
In semifinals, Holy Cross defeated Elgin Park – another highly ranked 4A team – in two sets, led by libero Emma Courneya.
“It seemed she was everywhere,” Guze said.
After the loss to Holy Cross, Elgin Park rebounded to edge Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators 2-1 in the bronze-medal game.
The Winston Churchill Bulldogs won the fifth-place final over the Delta Pacers, while the tournament co-host Semiahmoo Totems placed 11th.
Madaisky was named tournament MVP, while all-star nods went to Mallari, Tweedsmuir’s Rachel Bellamare and Clayton Heights’ Veronica Plonis.