It’s a busy time of year for Earl Marriott Secondary girls volleyball teams.
Last weekend, the Grade 8 team won provincials, while the EMS junior girls are seeded No. 1 going into provincial competition this coming weekend.
The EMS senior girls, meanwhile, have also qualified for the AAA provincial championships.
In front of a packed EMS gym Saturday, the host Mariners knocked off the undefeated Saint Thomas More Knights in front of a raucous crowd to win the Grade 8 Girls Provincial Volleyball Championship.
Strong serving by Nikki Suh and Kennedy Braun got the Mariners out to a quick 9-2 lead in game one and then strong setting by Arwynn Houchen, combined with great middle-hitting by Ashton Hagel, stretched the Mariner lead to 16-9, said coach Gordon Houchen.
Chelsey Gerdis then led a furious STM comeback as the Knights fought back to tie the game 23-23. But the Mariners’ Brooklyn Boldt crushed an overbump, before spiking down the final point for a 25-23 Earl Marriott win.
In the second set, Bree Lu and Alexa Bicol got the Knights off to a quick 10-4 lead, but strong serving by Hagel closed the gap to 10-8. Eventually STM pulled ahead 20-15 and it looked as if there would be a third and deciding set until Shania Beliveau made a couple of key serves and Abi Roberts got three straight kills to make the score 20-20.
Excellent defense by Morgan Cavezza and Houchen then gave the Mariners a 24-23 lead.
Adelyn Fure then served up the championship-winning point for Earl Marriott and the crowd stormed the court to celebrate the 25-23 win.
“Our team played with a lot of heart and absolutely refused to lose! I am so proud of all the girls. What an amazing team effort to win against the three excellent teams we faced in the playoffs (Grandview Heights, Semiahmoo and STM).”
The tournament MVP was Ashton Hagel of Earl Marriott.
Junior Mariners girls coach Robert Stevens said he’s extremely proud of the Earl Marriott junior girls team, who were awarded the No. 1 seed going into provincial championships this weekend (Nov. 25 and 26).
In order to qualify for provincials, the Mariners defeated rival South Delta Sundevils in three straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-13) to win the South Fraser Valley Championship banner.
Earl Marriott’s Mia Stevens was recognized as the tournament MVP, while two other EMS athletes were identified as all-stars — Sydney Schierbeck and Talia Partovi.
Stevens gave credit to the Grade 8 team for their incredible win.
“We will certainly do out best to replicate their wonderful achievement. It’ll be a fierce competition,” he said.
The junior Mariners play Nanaimo at 10:15 a.m. Friday, with teams arranged in pools of three.
Games will be played at Pacific Academy and Salish Secondary.
The AAA championships take place next weekend in Kelowna.
EMS athletic director Russ Heggie gave kudos to all the students, coaches and volunteers involved.
“It’s a great accomplishment for our school. They represented us well and made the school very proud,” he said.