Kalamalka Lakers head coach Maria Hansen (left) goes over net strategy with her team as they continue preparations to host the B.C. AA Senior Girls High School Volleyball Championships Nov. 28 to 30. Games will also be played at Fulton and Vernon secondary schools. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Coldstream squad primed for provincials

Kal Lakers to host 2019 B.C. AA High School Senior Girls Volleyball tournament Nov. 28 t0 30

Maria Hansen still remembers the heart-pounding, sweat-inducing excitement of the 2004 B.C. High School Girls AA volleyball championships.

Hansen and her Kalamalka Lakers were hosting the provincials on their home court in Coldstream. The Lakers were the defending provincial champs and were looking to hang a second straight PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONS banner on the school’s gym wall. They took on Vancouver’s St. Patrick’s Academy in the final before a packed house.

St. Pat’s won the gold in the fifth and deciding set, 15-13.

“That was an amazing match,” said Hansen, in her 26th year of coaching, and who has guided the Lakers to two of the school’s three provincial titles and three provincial silver medals. She’ll get a chance to get her team to a seventh final Nov. 28-30 when the Lakers host the B.C. AA championships.

READ MORE: Lakers rule provincial court

The event will be a 20-team affair, compared to 16 back in 2004. Kal will get an automatic berth into the field as tournament hosts. The four additional teams require additional courts.

“We will play all of our pool games here (Kal) and there will be games at Fulton and two courts at Vernon Secondary,” said Hansen, joined on the bench by co-coach John Neilson.

“The Okanagan gets two berths. So if we finish first or second at the Valleys, the third-place team qualifies.”

The Lakers, currently ranked 10th in the AA provincial standings, are expected to battle Valley hosts George Elliot Coyotes, currently ranked third in B.C., and who beat Kal in the final of the recent Fulton Maroons tournament.

Wanting to earn a berth to the provincials rather than settling for the host designation, Hansen will rely on the leadership of her captains, Jessica Grages and Olivia Tymkiw, and the veteran savvy of her Grade 12s – Grages, Shaylee Hunter, Taylor Francks, Chanelle Wilson and Anna Rinn – to propel them into the B.C. tournament.

“With these girls, when they win, they win together. When they lose, they lose together. It’s a collective effort either way,” said Hansen, whose words were backed up by Grages, excited to end her high school career with a chance to play in the provincials at home.

“Everyone gets along really well,” said Grages, who plays power hitter. “We work really well together. Everyone’s on the same page. There’s no negativity. No drama. This is a fun group of people doing something together.

“We’re out here to play for fun, to win and try our hardest.”

Tymkiw, whose skill set as a middle player is one of the things Hansen admires about her co-captain, feels it will be crucial for Kal to get off to a good start on the opening day of the B.C. tourney.

“It’s very important. How we do in the pool play sets us up for the crossover and potential matchups against (No. 1 from Surrey) Pacific Academy and (No. 5 from Clearbrook) MEI,” said Tymkiw, who praised the play of libero Shaylee Hunter and Francks and Sales-Parno for helping kickstart the Lakers’ offence.

“Shaylee covers so much ground in the back court, she’ll go for any ball, and Taylor and Delaney do a great job of spreading the ball around to the hitters.”

Joining Tymkiw and Sales-Parno as Grade 11 players on the Lakers are Tatum Secretan, Kate Gareau, Hailey Rangen and Tehya Laviolette, and Grade 10 Sophie Dennis rounds out the roster.

The bronze- and gold-medal matches will be held at Kal Secondary Saturday, Nov. 30.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon gallery hosts Art After Dark

Event hosted by the Vernon Public Art Gallery Friday, Feb. 28

Vernon tennis player named Best of BC winner

Sport BC honours Vasek Pospisil for his comeback season after back surgery

Vernon golf course sinks construction on new clubhouse

Owners at The Rise are in a dispute with City of Vernon over tax assessment

Coaches take on players to honour Vernon volleyball player

Vernon Sky Club hosting event with proceeds to the Emily Dahl Foundation

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Fire crews battle large blaze in West Kelowna

Reports of multiple structures on fire in the Colleen Road area

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Kelowna man charged after naked driver leads RCMP on hit-and-run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read