Some close calls in the early going and a sweep in the consolation bracket led to a ninth-place finish for Brentwood College School at the provincial AA girls volleyball championships the school hosted last weekend, but coach Jill Fougner is extremely optimistic about the future.
Brentwood, which went into the tournament ranked 11th, went 1-2 in pool play, losing in three sets to fourth-seeded Surrey Christian, the eventual bronze medallists, and D.P. Todd, and defeating Smithers in two straight sets.
"We were really, really close in pool play," Fougner said. "It could have gone either way."
That set up a tough crossover match with highly ranked St. Thomas More, which Brentwood took to the limit, losing the fifth set 16-14.
"We really pushed them," Fougner said. "As a coach I was satisfied. You want your team to be peaking this time of year, and they were doing that."
The team had to rally quickly after the heartbreaking loss to St. Thomas More, but they surged through the consolation round, beating Selkirk, Princess Margaret’s, and Langley Fundamental in two sets each to finish atop the bracket.
"We finished up with three straight wins, so as a coach I was pleased to see that," Fougner said. "In these tournaments, a couple of points can send a game in one direction or another."
After going about a decade without missing the provincial championships, Brentwood didn’t make it last year, and this year’s team was missing that valuable experience. The players who come back next year will have been through the pressure, however.
"The experience gained this year, with tough, tough losses will go a long way with strengthening them," Fougner said.
Brentwood will lose just four players from this year’s team: captains Lauren Hanson and Hannah Colbourne, and Mollie McPhee-Green and Hannah Wood. Among the returning players next year will be three seniors who started last year as Grade 10s.
"We have a great young talent base," Fougner said. "We are really excited for 2015, for sure."