Cats, Royals earn volleyball glory

The VSS Junior Panthers and Vernon Christian School Royals Grade 8 boys enjoyed volleyball success in Kamloops.

The VSS Junior B Panthers girls went 5-0 to win the Tier 2 flight at the Thompson Rivers Universty Howler Invitational volleyball tournament last weekend

In pool play, the Baby Cats beat Brockleburst Broncos B 25-13, 25-7, 25-8 and South Okanagan Hornets A 25-17, 25-7, 25-19.  Emilia Durfeld did a great job of setting and serving in those matches.

In the quarterfinals, the Panthers bounced Mackenzie Sabres A 17-25, 25-14, 15-4.

“We started out slow and Mackenzie played really good defence,” said VSS head coach Mike Bertram. “We were’t aggressive enough in our attack and they were able to continue rallies that we should have put away. We were much more aggressive in the second and third sets.  Megan Claeys went on a long service run in the second game to spark the attack. Kenzie Killingbeck led the team in kills in this match off of great setting from Masha Tiourine. Myah Gallie played big in the middle which allowed us to attack out of two places.”

VSS grounded the Okanagan Mission 9s 25-17, 25-18 in the semifinals with Taija Kronbauer getting the Panthers off to a great start in the first game serving 10 straight.  Kelsey Watts had two huge blocks which gave the team great momentum.

Great setting came from Callie Bertram and some sweet hitting was turned in by Gallie, Hailey Quiring and Sarah Crerar.

In game 2, Mason Jurisson sparked the Cats with a run of nine serves to change the momentum big time.

In the finals, VSS brushed back the Fulton Maroons A in a three-set marathon. Fulton won the first set 25-17.

“They outplayed us at every turn in that game; they passed better hit better and played better dee,” said Bertram. “(Fulton’s) Jessica Kirkland is an excellent coach and her team showed it in the final but especially in game 1.”

The Panthers won the second tilt 27-25, rallying from a 23-16 deficit off some marvellous serving by Watts and Carly Larson. Larson also had several big hits to win points in the comeback.

“We had trouble serving, 10 faults in the second game but were able to dig deep and win rallies when we needed to.”

The Panthers then won the third game 15-12 in a thriller.

“Both teams played great volleyball and had excellent sportsmanship and camaraderie,” said Bertram.

The Vernon Christian School Royals Grade 8 boys had a golden experience at their first tournament of the year in Kamloops.

They opened by stuffing Brocklehurst 25-16, 25-23 before the Maple Ridge Ramblers knocked off the Royals 2-1 (27-25, 6-25, 16-14).

Said Vernon  coach Dwayne Remple: “This was a good reminder to our team that we have to play the games not taking our opponents for granted, and from that point on, the team played a very focussed brand of volleyball going undefeated the rest of the way.”

The Royals iced the Revelstoke Avalanche 25-9, 25-11 and stopped Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops 25-12, 25-13.

In the semifinal of the medal round, VCS dispatched the Sabres 3-0.

“We thought we would face Brocklehurst in the championship game but they stumbled against Maple Ridge and lost. That set the stage for us to have a rematch against the only team that we lost to in the round robin (Maple Ridge).”

The Royals rolled past Maple Ridge 3-0 (25-5, 25-15, 25-17) on strong serving by Levi Vanderveen and Josh Hall, along with a few timely points scored by Austin Armanini.

Tournament MVPs were handed out to Liam Remple and Jacob Defoe for offensive players of the tournament and Levi Vanderveen for best setter.

Added coach Remple said, “All in all, this was an excellent tournament for our boys to take a step forward in their game play. We had excellent serving from Daniel Kroeker, Levi Vanderveen and Oliver Bonin and some really good setting from Bradley Halvorson and Rhys DeFehr. In the hitting  and blocking department we were led all tournament by twin towers at the net, 6-foot Jacob Defoe 6’0″ and 6-foot-1 Liam Remple.”