The No. 1-ranked and defending champion Vernon Christian School Royals repeated as B.C. High School Senior Boys A Volleyball champions Saturday at Selkirk College in Castlegar.
The Royals swept the Centennial Christian Seahawks of Terrace 25-16, 26-24, 25-20 in the gold-medal game.
Ben Molitwenik of Vernon Christian was named the tournament’s most outstanding player for the second year in a row, while teammates Jacob Defeo, Liam Remple and Devin Hofsink were selected to the first all-star team. Levi VanderDeen was an all-star honourable mention.
“We had an amazing season. These boys bonded together as brothers and put their heart into everything to make it a success,” said VCS co-coach Chris Bannick, joined on the bench by Dwayne Remple and Zac Dubland.
“We went wire-to-wire this season as the No.1-ranked team which put a lot of pressure on the boys. It seemed like the bigger the match, or tournament, the better they played.
There will probably never be another team at VCS as successful as this year’s squad. As coaches, we are very proud of this team; not just because of the victory, but the way they connected with us and each other. We build strong, lasting relationships which will last a lifetime It was truly a blessing to coach these boys.” Coach Bannick
The Royals advanced to the championship Saturday morning with a 25-16, 26-24, 25-14 sweep of the host Mt. Sentinel Wildcats of South Slocan in the semifinals.
The Seahawks punched their ticket to the final with a four-set semifinal victory over the Credo Christian Kodiaks of Langley.
Credo defeated Mt. Sentinel in the bronze medal game.
VCS swept its preliminary round pool play on Thursday, starting with a tough 26-24, 18-25, 16-14 win over the Kodiaks, followed by a 25-9, 25-18 win over Centennial Christian and closed the day with a 25-19, 25-17 win over Mt. Sentinel.
All 16 teams were re-seeded based on pool results for Friday’s start of the playoff round. In the round of 16, the top-ranked Royals cruised past the 16th-rated Sparwood Spartans 25-23, 25-7, 25-6 to advance to the quarterfinals against the Ebenezer Auroras of Smithers. Vernon Christian scored a 25-17, 25-16, 25-13 win to move on to the final four.
The Royals went 18-1 in sets won to lost at the Provincials, and didn’t lose a match. The team has gone 36-1 at the last two provincials, and finished 2019 with a record of 44-6 matches won/lost.
“I am really proud of how these boys finished the season. They proved they are one of the top teams in the province. Not only did they win a second provincial championship, but they had fun doing it,” said coach Remple. “I am going to miss the guys graduating this year. This has been a really special group, probably a once in a lifetime team and I am fortunate to have been a part of it. I look forward to seeing where they all end up playing.”
Members of the championship team include coaches Remple, Bannick and Dubland; graduating players Molitwenik, Braeden McAmmond, Hofsink, Saul Sanders and Shaun Huizinga, and Grade 11s VanderDeen, Defeo, Josh Hall and Remple. The team manager is Don Defeo.