It was silver for one, bronze for another for two Vernon School District teams at provincial high school volleyball championships helpd Dec. 8-11.
The provincial AAA senior girls championships in Vancouver had Survivor – the longstanding CBS TV reality show – as its theme. Vernon’s Seaton Sonics – using Survivor vernacular – outwitted, outlasted and outplayed opponents to the final tribal council where they fell a few votes short of the million dollars or, in this case, the provincial gold medal.
The Sonics reached the championship game against the top-ranked Mt. Douglas Rams of Victoria, taking the top seeds to a fifth and deciding match before falling 10-15.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Seaton head coach Troy Lorenson. “This was a true ‘team’ in every sense of the word. Despite falling a few points short of winning the provincial title, most probably didn’t anticipate how far the team would go.
“To see the kids battle in two five-set nail-biting matches on Saturday was inspiring. We want to thank everyone for the incredible support. The bleachers, and live stream, were filled with friends, alumni, fellow athletes and family cheering us on. I am immensely proud of the team and Vernon volleyball community.”
Ava Proctor of the Sonics was named the tournament’s top libero. Teammates Jesse Mitchell and Makenna Hamilton Jackson were named to the first all-star team, Novah Gardner was a second-team selection and Lauren Eddy earned honourable mention.
The Sonics were unbeaten in the preliminary round, taking the Duchess Park Condors of Prince George 2-1 and sweeping the host Crofton Falcons of Vancouver 2-0.
Seaton began the playoff round with a 3-0 win over the Byrne Creek Bulldogs of Burnaby, setting up a quarterfinal date with the McMath Wildcats of Richmond. Seaton won 3-0.
In the final four, the Sonics took on Vancouver’s Little Flower Academy Angels and won in five games to advance to the final.
The Vernon Panthers finished third in their four-team pool. Vernon defeated Byrne Creek in straight sets but fell to the Delta Pacers and Little Flower.
VSS was eliminated from championship contention in the first round by Crofton in three sets. On the consolation side, the Panthers defeated Byrne Creek and the L.V. Rogers Bombers of Nelson.
SENIOR GIRLS SINGLE A
The Charles Bloom Timberwolves of Lumby are returning to the North Okanagan with hardware from the seven-team provincials in Castlegar.
The T-Wolves battled their way to the bronze medal, defeating North Zone rivals King’s Christian School of Salmon Arm in the third-place match. Bloom dropped a four-set decision to the host school, Mt. Sentinel of South Slocan, in one semifinal, while King’s Christian was swept in three games by the Okanagan champion and eventual provincial gold medalists, Osoyoos Rattlers.
Osoyoos received a bye to the semifinals for finishing atop the round-robin
The Timberwolves made it to the final four after a sixth-place showing in the preliminary round.
“We had a rough start to our tournament in round-robin play, losing four games and winning two,” said Bloom coach Katy Mulholland. “We faced an uphill battle coming into playoffs against the third-seeded team (Cedars Christian, Prince George), who we had previously lost to.
“As we waited for that game, an accident on the highway prevented the other team from arriving for our game. The best of five match was postponed to Saturday morning, and we were able to sweep the game with an upset to move into the top four and semi-finals. We faced Mt. Sentinel in a second best-of-five match later that morning, playing four extremely close sets but ultimately falling just short, and moving into the bronze-medal game.”
Mulholland’s crew knocked off Mt. Sentinel and Fort St. James in the preliminary round but lost to Cedars Christian, Osoyoos, Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School of Smithers and a 2-1 decision against King’s Christian, who the T-Wolves would face one more time in 2021 with a medal on the line.
“In our ninth and final game of the tournament, we came up against our north zone competitors, King’s Christian, who put up a very tough battle, taking the first set in our best-of-three game,” said Mulholland. “Ultimately, strong serving performances from McKenna Larsen, Jordan Andrews, and Jessi Cleverley, and considerable and tireless effort from every member of the team, helped to push us through that first loss, and ultimately to come back for the win in three sets.”
Mulholland called the weekend “a battle.”
“Earning the bronze medal is a true testament to the team’s grit, perseverance, and skill,” she said. “We would like to thank the Charles Bloom PAC and leadership class, and Sheardown’s Variety, along with all other members of the school and community who supported us on our journey to provincials.”
Cleverly and Andrews were named Charles Bloom’s tournament all-stars.
SENIOR BOYS AA
Seaton Sonics of Vernon placed eighth at the provincial finals in Victoria.
The Okanagan’s No. 2 team fell in its final game to Valley rivals Revelstoke Avalanche 2-1 to finish in the top tier of the 14-team provincials. Okanagan champion Summerland Rockets did not take part.
The Sonics had a rough start finishing fourth in their four-team preliminary round pool, going 1-2 with a win against Pacific Academy of Surrey, and losses against the College Heights Cougars (Prince George) and Revelstoke. Had Seaton swept Revelstoke, they would have finished first in the pool. But a three-set loss to their Okanagan rivals left them in fourth place.
In the first round of the playoffs, Seaton faced the No.-1 team from Pool C, the Gladstone Tigers of Vancouver, and won in four sets to advance against the top-seeded host team, Pacific Christian, who beat Seaton in a four-set thriller, 26-24 in the final game.
Relegated to the consolation side, Seaton fell in four games to Pacific Academy before finishing with the loss to Revelstoke.
Seaton setter Jonah Violini was named to the tournament’s second all-star team.
The Duchess Park Condors of Prince George, who stunned Pacific Christian in the semis, defeated Langley Christian to win the provincial title.
This story was updated Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 8:15 a.m. with corrected information on the Senior AA Boys tourney