The Fulton Maroons are the North Zone Senior Boys Volleyball Champions.
They captured the title by grounding the Vernon Panthers 3-1 (13-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23) in the championship game.
The Panthers came out to play and dominated the first set. The Maroons responded in the second set with some strong net play by Greg Kuhn and Brayden Bouchard. Fulton controlled the flow of the final three sets and was able to handle the pressure of the final points of each set.
Dustin Popoff was a force from the start, Dallas Zupp came up with some tremendous digs in the back row and setter Braden Barr started to move the ball around to his hitters. Quinn Jones came alive and had several kills and blocks.
The last two sets saw numerous impressive kills by Jordan Orr. The consistent play of Sean Lister, along with some timely Maroon kills, helped seal the win.
Fulton advanced to the final by stuffing the Revelstoke Rams 3-1, while VSS stopped the Seaton Sonics 3-1.
Fulton, VSS and Revelstoke advance to the Valley Championships this weekend in Kamloops.
In Grade 8 girls action, the Panthers brushed back a much-improved Kalamalka Lakers side 2-1 (21-25, 25-11 and 15-13) to secure the North Zone title.
VSS beat Revelstoke and the Shuswap Middle School Ravens in straight sets to finish the night with at 3-0.
Strong serving by Ana Rice, Ashley Condie and Kristy Fugel kept their opponents scrambling. Courtney Becker and Latisha Baker dug up some tough balls to keep VSS in the match against Kal.
Other Panthers who stepped up their game included Kendra Cooper, Sarah Wiebe, Jessica Melvin, Sierra Benner, DaniLee Taylor, Teal Hadlund, Katie Macgillivary and Maddie Powls.
Kal finished second, Shuswap third and Revelstoke fourth.
On the Grade 8 boys side, Fulton capped a 15-2 season by grounding the Sonics (25-12, 25-22), Carlin Panthers of Tappen (25-8, 25-14) and Revelstoke (25-11, 25-16), all in straight sets.
Coached by Richard and Karen Bedard, the Fulton boys really turned up their play midway through the season.
“The boys worked really hard in practice and adapted to how the game is played. They learned the systems, which was difficult at first, but are on their way to becoming a dominant team in later years for Fulton,” said Karen.
Meanwhile, the Okanagan Valley Senior AAA Girls Championships go Saturday at Pleasant Valley Secondary.
Sharon Shaigec’s Maroons go in as the top seed and will take on the No. 6 PVSS Sinners at 9 a.m., followed by a 10:15 tilt against No. 3 Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna. The Sinners take on OKM at 11:30.
In B pool action, the No. 2 Vernon Panthers meet fifth-seeded Seaton at 9 a.m., and the fourth-ranked George Elliot Coyotes at 10:15. The Yotes and Sonics tangle at 11:30.
Semifinals are at 1 p.m., with the gold-medal game set for 3 p.m.
There are two berths available for the B.C. championships, Dec. 1-3 in Parksville.