The Vernon Christian School Royals shared third place in their Invitational Senior Boys Volleyball tournament last weekend.
The Royals, who went into the five-team event ranked No. 5 in the provincial A poll, opened by falling 25-18, 21-25, 15-11 to the VSS Panthers.
Chris Bannick’s crew then lost in two close sets to top-ranked A Kelowna Christian Knights .
VSS rolled over Clearwater Raiders 25-5, 25-12, defeated Cedars Christian Eagles of Prince George, 25-21-25-18, and lost to Kelowna Christian.
Vernon Christian bounced back by defeating the Raiders 25-12, 25-14. Travis Hoogland led the outside attack with six kills and three ace serves.
“Reuben Smid and Jacob Thiessen also played well in the match, with Smid making a couple of kills from the power position, and Thiessen making several back row digs to keep the ball in play,” said Bannick. “Middles Adam Ensing and Ryan Price had a solid game up front while Luke Wolgram delivered solid passing as Libero on serve receive.”
Vernon Christian met the Knights again in the semifinals later Saturday, and played a much more aggressive game, with Royals’ captain Sam Koch supplying strong outside hitting.
Hoogland switched to the middle and started to dominate with his aggressive blocking. Zac Dubland wiped his power attacks off of the KCS blocks for many key points, frustrating the Knights’ defence.
“Aaron Spence assisted on many points with precision sets and blocks,” said Bannick. “Price made several great digs to keep the rallies alive.”
In the end, the Royals continued their strong defence, but could not maintain their level of play, losing 25-21, 25-18.
VSS defeated the Cedars Christian Eagles in the other semifinal to advance to the finals against Kelowna Christian. VSS put up a great battle in bowing 25-21, 25-8. Ben Cave played well substituting in the setter position.
The Royals are in the Prince George Polars Invitational this weekend.
Meanwhile, VSS placed second in the Penticton Senior Girls Halloween Volleyball Tournament, falling 2-0 (29-27, 25-22) to the Mt. Sentinel Wildcats of Slocan in Saturday’s final.
The Cats, who are rated third in the AAA top-10, finished higher than the Best of the West tournament champion AAAA KSS Owls, who placed third.
The Panthers swept the Pen High Lakers 2-0 (25-22, 25-18), while the Wildcats iced the Owls in three sets, in the semifinals.
“It was a great weekend and all the girls again played very well in pool play and playoffs,” said Panther coach Keith Becker. “With our Grade 12 setter Mary Rice back in action after a five-week recovery from a bad ankle injury sustained at a tourney early in the season, the team continues to build depth and diversity and continues to grow stronger every time they play.
“Maddy Sawka and Shanaya Pol both played very well in pool play with a great kill down the line from Maddy Sawka against KSS, and Kelsey Thachuk had great passes and digs all weekend long. Great work to Searra Becker and Avery Bridge who both received first team all-stars.”
VSS begins play in the Fulton Maroons tournament Friday.