Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Christian Royals rallied to stop the Credo Kodiaks of Langley Saturday 3-2 (22-25, 25-15, 24-26, 26-24, 15-13) in the bronze-medal match of the B.C. Senior A Boys Volleyball Championships in Abbotsford.
The Royals were led defensively by Caleb Haberstock, Cole Kitagawa, and Landon Matties. Outside hitters Haberstock and Kitagawa each had11 kills. It marked the best placing ever by Vernon Christian at a provincial playoff.
“All weekend long, the team earned the nickname ‘The Comeback Kids’ from many fans as they never quit or gave up, no matter how far they were trailing, said Royals’ coach Chris Bannick. “They chose to grind out each set and in a few situations, actually came back to take the set.”
Trailing 22-17 in the fourth set, Haberstock started the comeback with two straight kills down the line, then one cross court. Middle attacker and tournament second team all-star selection Tim Bartel then made a spectacular kill to preserve the rally. Team setter and first team all-star Colton Doesburg kept the momentum going with a timely stuff block, but not before back row dig and serve specialist Tom Wolgram made a crucial save to keep the rally alive. Kitagawa added to the balanced team effort with a thunderous shot down the line.
Set five saw the Royals take an early lead and then played side out volleyball with many solid blocks and hits to seal the victory.
Middle attacker Matties and right side Jacob Molitwenik provided a couple of crucial kills in the deciding set. Match point was earned and the celebration ensued when Molitwenik hit from power but the Kodiaks made a costly net violation.
The Royals are: Mitchell Kroeker, Colton Doesburg, Brennan Seltzer, Ethan Jameson, Josh Chirkoff, Noah Christensen, Jacob Molitwenik, Cole Kitagawa, Tim Bartel, Caleb Haberstock, Landon Matties and Tom Wolgram. Sam Koch and Dwayne Remple are on the coaching staff.