Vernon Christian Royals swamped the competition at the eight-team Tri-Lakes Senior Boys high school volleyball tournament, hosted by the Royals and Seaton Sonics on the weekend.
The defending B.C. A champion Royals went undefeated in the tourney, taking first place in the Swan Lake division in pool play by first taming the Immaculata Mustangs from Kelowna 25-18 and 25-18, then grounding the visitors from Prince George, the Cedars Christian Eagles (25-12, 25-14), and finished Friday night by rolling to a 25-15, 25-15 win over Langley’s Credo Christian Kodiaks.
In Saturday’s quarterfinals, the Royals dispatched the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops 25-18 and 25-17. Ben Molitwenik led the squad with six kills, Braeden McAmmond had two solo blocks, and Shaun Huizinga added two kills and three service aces.
The Royals kept on rolling as they took on the West Kootenay’s Mt. Sentinel Wildcats of Salmon in the semis and came away with a familiar result; a 25-12, 25-20 victory. Right-side attacker Devin Hofsink contributed four kills and shut down the Wildcats’ offence with two blocks.
In the finals, the Royals met the Kodiaks once again. Setter Jacob Defeo led the team in the first set with strong serving and recorded three aces. Liam Remple was stellar in the middle with four kills and two solo blocks to preserve a 25-19 win. In the second set, outside hitters Levi VanderDeen had four kills in set two and Molitwenik chipped in with three. Middle blocker Josh Hall had one solo block and two service aces to lead the team to a 28-26 tournament victory.
“I am really proud of the effort the boys put into this weekend,” said VCS co-coach Dwayne Remple, helped on the bench by Chris Bannick and Zac Dubland. “They showed that they have evolved in their gameplay and skill to compete with anyone.”
Added Bannick: “The boys played with positive energy all weekend and we used our height to our advantage being able to close the block effectively to shut down our opponent’s offence.”
The Sonics placed third in pool play, losing close matches to Kelowna Christian (25-23, 26-28, 15-10) and the Wildcats (25-22, 20-25, 17-15) while dispatching Sa-Hali 25-14, 25-22. Seaton finished on a positive note, winning the consolation side with a 25-16, 25-21 win over the Mustangs and a 25-20, 25-14 victory over the Sabres.
The Royals next travel to North Vancouver for the Argyle Pipers’ 24-team invitational tournament.