They went into the tournament ranked 13th.
They came out in the top-eight.
The host Kalamalka Lakers beat the Summerland Rockets 25-20, 25-22 to finish seventh out of 20 at the B.C. High School Senior Girls AA Volleyball championships Saturday, Nov. 30.
The game was played at Fulton Secondary, the only match the host Lakers did not play on their home court in the tournament, and the win avenged a semifinal loss to the Rockets at the Okanagan championships.
“The girls can certainly be proud of their accomplishment this past weekend,” said Kal head coach Maria Hansen. “After being ranked 13th, the team saved some of their best performances for the end of the season. Considering there are over 70 AA teams in the province, finishing seventh is not a small feat.”
It was the final high school game for Kal graduating players, libero Shaylee Hunter, power hitters Jessica Grages, Chanelle Wilson and Anna Rinn, and setter Taylor Francks, and all played key roles in contributing to the win.
The team started off the tourney with a three-set nail biter against Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Knights in front of a raucous home crowd. The team fed off the energy of the home crowd and the firepower of starters Olivia Tymkiw, Grages and Rinn, as well as the amazing digs from libero Hunter and sets from Francks.
Next up was the No. 3 seed Pacific Christian Pacers of Victoria, with Kal rolling to a win in the first set behind the strong attack from outside hitter and captain Grages, as well as strong serving and defence from right side Delaney Sales-Parno. Tatum Secretan came in with several shots of her own to keep the second set close but unfortunately Kal could not hang on and lost in the thirrd .
The final pool match was against north Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints, who Kal managed to handle fairly easily. Strong blocking and hitting from middle Wilson as well as the consistent serving of Tehya Laviolette helped secure the victory.
In their round of 16 best-of-five Kal dominated the Holy Cross Crusaders of Surrey. Grade 10 call-up Sophie Dennis put on a hitting clinic coming in off the bench in the second set to fire up her team and the crowd. Francks ran an effective offence utilizing the strength of all of her hitters to power past the Crusaders in three straight sets. Grages’ 12-point service run in the third clinched the victory. Hailey Rangen was also solid from the middle position and once again showed herself to be the most consistent server throughout the tournament.
The quarterfinal match up placed Kal against the No. 1 seed and eventual silver medalist, Pacific Academy Breakers of Surrey. PA’s strong offence from all positions proved too much on this day despite the heroic efforts of Hunter. Co-captain and second team all-star Olivia Tymkiw tried to carry the team on her shoulders, amassing 13 kills in the match with the assists coming from Francks.
Kal struggled and unfortunately seemed a bit flat-footed against Langley Christian in the game which would have allowed them to play for fifth place. The team could not find a defensive answer to their all-star right-side hitter.
After that disappointing loss, the girls regrouped and came in fresh in their final match. Rinn’s energy was contagious, along with her hitting and strong serving. Sales-Parno was once again solid behind the service line, as well as passing. Kate Gareau subbed in and made several fine passes to help carry Kal to a dominant two-set victory over Summerland to finish the tournament with a very satisfying victory.
The fourth-ranked York House Tigers of Vancouver upset Pacific Academy 27-25, 23-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-11 in the gold-medal game Saturday night at Kal Secondary. It was a rematch of the 2018 final which Pacific Academy won.
The Okanagan champion George Elliot Coyotes, who lost in four games to York House in the semifinals, captured the bronze medal with a 2-1 win over the MEI Eagles of Clearbrook, meaning the three Okanagan squads all finished in the top-eight of the 20-team tournament. It was the second consecutive bronze medal loss for the Eagles.
The Lakers would like to thank their parents, Kalamalka staff and students and all the sponsors that donated so generously to make the tournament a massive success.