Morning Star Staff
The Okanagan Valley champion Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops bounced the Brooks Thunderbirds of Powell River 3-1 (25-15, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19) in Saturday night’s final of the B.C. Senior AAA Girls Volleyball Championships at VSS.
The Sabres, who lost just one game in the Sweet 16 tournament, swept the Caledonia Kermodes of Terrace 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-14) in semifinal play.
Brooks reached the championship by outlasting the College Heights Cougars of Prince George 3-2 (23-25, 27-25, 15-25, 25-20, 15-10) in the other semi.
Sabre Grade 11 outside hitter Kate Ludvig, a Team B.C. Under 16 star, was tourney MVP, while Grade 11 Sawyer Hawgood was named best libero.
MaKenna Cleveland of Sa-Hali was named to the first all-star team, while teammates Caet McCorkell and Linnea Brickwood got second all-star team nods. They are the first Sa-Hali team to win a senior AAA girls volleyball provincials.
“I have no words to describe how amazing it feels and how much I love the team,” said Sabres’ co-captain Cleveland, a Grade 12 student. “They’ve really become family to me and, knowing we were the first ones to be able to do it, that means a lot.”
Sa-Hali, coached by Wai Ma, entered the tourney as the No. 3 seed after icing the VSS Panthers for the Valley title.
The Panthers lost one match to College Heights in quarterfinal play Friday night and bounced back Saturday by icing the Hugh McRoberts Strikers of Richmond 2-1 (20-25, 25-13, 16-14) to place fifth.
The Grade 12s were all presented a rose at the start of their final game in the Panther Pit. Grade 12 middle Courtney Becker was a second team all-star.
Ashley Condie, Kendra Kooper, Anna Rice, Kristy Fugel, Katie MacGillvray, Jessica Melvin and Kate Healy also graduate in June. Taryn Kreeft, Saige Woodliffe, Rhiannon Lutzke, Ayme Lynch and Nevada Krog return next fall.
“It truly did take each one of the girls to get the team to provincials this year,” said Panther head coach Keith Becker, assisted by Erin Philip. “They are a great group and has been a very positive season and one I hope they will remember for many years.”
Becker expects another winning season next year weith a strong group of Grade 10s moving up to the senior level.
The Fulton Maroons finished fourth in the B.C. Senior AA Boys Championships, losing 25-11, 25-20 to the Pacific Academy Breakers of Surrey Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Fulton, ranked No. 3, lost in four sets to the No. 1 MEI Eagles of Clearbrook in semifinal play Friday night. MEI dispatched Langley Fundamental Titans 3-0 (25-13, 26-24, 25-19) in Saturday’s final.
“We were pumped to play MEI and although we had a slow start, we won the first game with a solid 25-21 score. Their passing then slipped over the next two games and MEI caught up. But in the fourth game we were up 4-0, then 8-4 when we had the worst luck”, said Fulton head coach Richard Bedard.
“Right side player Landon Currie volleyed a spin serve and dislocated his pinky finger badly on his left hand, so he could not play the rest of the match. We ended up losing 25-20 after the Grade 12s (Danny Aspenlieder, Jordy Barr, Bryn Bedard, Ryan Doerges) stepped up as best as they could.”
Currie ended up playing in the bronze match as a libero.
Aspenlider, a recently signed UBC Thunderbird, was a first-team all-star and Doerges made the second team.
Christan Harpe, Keiran Webster, Brett Hansen, and Reece Hawthorne were also on the team. Assistant coaches were Dan Currie and Karen Bedard.
“I’m really proud of these boys.,” said Richard Bedard. “I got really emotional after the bronze telling them so. You go from working with them at least four days a week, and now that journey has come to an end. I have enjoyed working with them over these years and watching them become great young men.”
Bedard will coach at Seaton next year where his youngest son will be in Grade 8.
The Seaton Sonics placed eighth after falling 26-24, 25-23 to the George Elliot Coyotes of Lake Country Saturday.
“The boys really came together as a team this weekend,” said Sonic coach Fane Triggs. “Starting with players being responsible for buying groceries and making meals at the hotel.”
Troy Atkinson and Avery Triggs connected multiple times to give Seaton an early lead in the opening quarterfinal set against MEI Friday. The Eagles won 3-0. Adam Roemer supplied dynamite digs and Chin Lin Chen provided several clutch points in power and Ryan Evans and Sam Eddy delivered big blocking.
Jorell Kalinski registered some key timely blocks on the right side, while Mac Watson came off the bench with a perfect serve record. Grade 10 Landon Colvin did an amazing job as Libero and represents a bright future for the Sonics.