Gulf Islands Secondary School’s senior boys volleyball team is headed to provincial championships in Langley.
The Scorpions will make the trip as the top AA-level team from Vancouver Island, riding an undefeated streak from both North Island and Vancouver Island finals.
“Scorpions volleyball alumni and co-coach Cole Wrigley and I are very proud of these boys,” said coach Kellie Booth on Monday. “They have worked hard to get themselves to provincials.”
The boys’ playoff run got off to a great start with a 4-0 record at the North Island tourney at Mark R. Isfeld Senior Secondary in Comox on Nov. 10 and 11.
At the Vancouver Island tournament held Friday and Saturday at St. Michaels University in Victoria, the Scorpions cruised through round-robin play with straight set wins against SMU and a Timberline team from Campbell River. According to Booth, solid blocking by Atum Beckett and consistent serving by Abe Green proved too much for the Scorpions’ first opponents.
Markus Wenzel was one of several parents at the tournament.
“The toughest challenge came from Lambrick Park, whose star power hitter played for the national team this past summer,” he said. “With very little supporting cast for their star, and great blocking by the Scorpions, Lambrick lost two games to one.”
Wenzel said entering the playoff round, the Scorpions faced a strong Mark Isfeld team. But anchored by the clever set-and-spike duo of Sander Keil and Logan Wenzel, the team rose to the occasion and prevailed in the semi-finals in straight sets.
Wenzel and Booth said that stellar blocks from Jared Farias, Noah Jacobsen and Max Temmel assured Isfeld’s offence remained impotent, while clutch serving by Obleo Demandre and pinpoint passing from “cat-quick” Yugo Uemura and Liam Maguire kept the ball off the ground.
The final match of the day featured the number-one-ranked Pacific Christian School taking on the Scorpions. Deep in talent and a legacy as a great volleyball school, the Scorpions were in tough for the gruelling, best-of-five match.
Booth said inspired play by Grade 11 players Nick Van Bakel and Jeffrey Gray provided the offensive depth necessary for the Scorpions to put PCS players constantly on defence.
Their confidence building with every point, the Scorpions hammered their way to three straight set wins to take the championship crown.
“The crowd was on their feet and hoarse from the cheering,” said Wenzel.
Keil earned tournament MVP honours.
Video clips from the island championships have been posted on YouTube by parent Wolfgang Temmel.
Booth said some of her players have had their sights set on making the provincials since their junior season when they played under the direction of coach Erik Perrins, also a Scorpions volleyball program alumni. One of those players is defensive specialist Stuart Hambrook, who was out of action last weekend with a bad cold, but provided excellent support for his team from the bench.
“He should be back in time for provincials, which is great news because we want all ‘hands on deck’ to make our push through the tournament,” said Booth.
The Scorpions are presently ranked ninth in the province.
The provincial championships run in Langley from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.