One championship has been successfully defended.
But the Seaquam Seahawks still have the most important title to go after.
The North Delta school has won their second consecutive Fraser Valley Senior AAA High School volleyball championship, and will be hoping to repeat as B.C. champions at next week’s provincial tournament in Vancouver.
But Seahawks co-head coach Todd Clarke admits a bit of good fortune will be needed to hang another B.C. School Sports championship banner in the school’s gymnasium.
“I think the kids would be disappointed in anything less than fourth place,” said Clarke, who shares the coaching job with Bill Tereposky. “Making a semifinal and winning the final is the goal, but teams need lots to happen to win a tournament like this.
The best players need to be the best players, we need to be injury free, and there’s some court luck. We need to make our breaks and step up when we need to.”
Seaquam goes into the 16-team provincial tournament as the top-seed, and is grouped with co-host Crofton House Cougars, the Kelly Road Road Runners of Prince George, and the Carson Graham Eagles from North Vancouver.
Those four teams will play a round robin Thursday (Nov. 29) to determine the one- through four-seeds for the playoff round Friday and Saturday.
The Hawks won the Fraser Valley championship by defeating the M.E.I. Eagles in four sets (3-1) last Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre, which hosted Fraser Valley championship matches in several categories. Nicola Laniuk of Seaquam was the tournament‘s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while teammates Amy Davidson and Mandelyn Erikson were all-stars.
“We didn’t play all that well, a little like playing in mud,” said Clarke. “But we hung in there together and supported each other through the tough times and ultimately refused to lose.”
The Seahawks are one of five local teams to qualify for the provincial championships.
The Clayton Heights Nightriders placed third in the girls Senior AAA playoff, and will also be competing in Vancouver next week. The Nightriders are seeded sixth for the provincial tournament, which is co-hosted by Crofton House and Little Flower Academy.
Clayton Heights is in a group that includes the Nanaimo Islanders, Brookswood Bobcats and a team to be determined, and will be seeded between fifth through eighth for the playoff round.
In the Senior AA girls tournament, two local teams placed in the top three and have qualified for the B.C. Championships in Nanaimo. The Surrey Christian Falcons won the Fraser Valley championship, while the Pacific Academy Breakers placed third. Rachel Windhorst of Surrey Christian was the tournament MVP, while Lauren Steunenberg and Jocelyn Van Ryk were all-stars.
Surrey Christian will be seeded fifth at the provincial tournament, while Pacific Academy has been seeded 13th.
The Fraser Heights Firehawks won the gold medal in the Senior AAA boys tournament, and are in Kelowna for the provincial playoff.
The Firehawks have held down the first place position in the provincial rankings all season, but needed five sets to put away the fourth-seed Earl Marriott Mariners in the Fraser Valley final.
“It was a bit of a bummer to lose that one, because we were right there (with a chance to win), but it’s OK – we’re going to provincials, and we’ll see them again,” said Mariners coach Richard Thain.
That rematch will be next Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Kelowna Secondary, one of three matches each team will play in the round robin portion of the tournament. The Kelowna Owls and Oak Bay Bays are also in the group, which will determine the first through fourth seeds for the playoff of the 20-team competition.
– The Fraser Valley Championships were hosted by the Fraser Valley Volleyball Commission, with admission to the tournament by donation, either in cash or food. The commission raised $715 in donations, which will be forwarded to Global Partners of Education in Sierra Leone, Africa. The Langley Food Bank also received a donation of a “huge number of canned food items.”