Thanks to some close losses that could have gone either way, the Duncan Christian Chargers finished in 10th place at the single-A boys volleyball provincial championships in Kamloops last weekend.
“It wasn’t the finish we were looking for, but that’s the way it goes,” said DCS head coach Jim Brandsma, who admitted the close losses were “tough to swallow.”
The Chargers ended up fifth in their six-team pool after round-robin play with one win and five losses, but their matches included a narrow 22-25, 25-23, 16-14 defeat at the hands of Kelowna Christian, a 25-22, 25-23 loss to host St. Ann’s Academy, and a 26-24, 25-20 edging by Fernie. Even their most lopsided loss, 25-12, 25-20 to Bulkley Valley Christian, almost went to a third set. The Chargers’ win came against Cedars Christian, 14-25, 25-17, 15-13.
In the playoffs, DCS beat Carver Christian 25-23, 23-25, 15-8, then lost a marathon ninth-place battle to Ucluelet 32-30, 23-25, 18-16.
“We went in sixth, and you like to finish where you were at or a little higher,” Brandsma said. “The boys were disappointed, but they weren’t hanging their heads very long. They went back to having a good time.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Chargers split two matches with Credo Christian, who went on to win the provincial title, showing that DCS would have been right in the mix had a few bounces gone a different way.
“We potentially could have been right up there,” said Brandsma, who was assisted in his coaching duties by Scott Harder and Rob Vanderschaaf.
Inexperience and nerves on the part of some of the younger players may have been a factor, but Grade 12s Matt Brandsma, Nick Harder and Pierson Atsma helped calm things down on the court.
“The Grade 12 guys were very encouraging,” Jim Brandsma said. “That was good to see.”
Matt Brandsma was named a second team all-star — the only all-star picked from a team that finished outside the top six at provincials. All three senior players brought versatility to the team all year.
“One of the great things about those guys is that you can put them in any position and they can play it. That’s a testament to their knowledge of the game.”
Brandsma pointed out that he played the 5-foot-7 Atsma at middle blocker on at least one occasion, to no detriment to the team.
The Chargers were also impressive off the court. In an unheard-of honour, they received a letter from housekeeping at their hotel in appreciation of their behaviour.
“They actually took the time to write a letter,” Brandsma said. “That’s a testament to the guys. They’re good kids. They like to have fun, but they’re not disrespectful in any way.”