Duncan Christian Chargers 3rd, T-Birds 11th at girls volleyball tournament

The Duncan Christian School Chargers placed third, while the Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds finished 11th as the two schools teamed up to host their annual senior girls volleyball invitational tournament last weekend.

After a heated round of pool play, the Chargers narrowly lost their semifinal match against Timberline 25-20, 21-25, 15-10, then downed Gulf Islands Secondary 25-20, 25-18 in the thirdplace match. The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, ended up in the consolation bracket, where they lost their first match 25-19, 25-20 to Lake Cowichan before closing out with a dominant 25-17, 25-11 win over Nanaimo Christian.

The Lake Cowichan Lakers ended up 10th in the tournament, while the Chemainus Cougars were 13th and the Queen Margaret’s Royals were 14th.

"It was a good weekend overall," DCS head coach Dave Vanderschaaf said. "We played some strong volleyball at times. The girls are getting used to their roles and it’s been fun challenging them with playing different positions or playing with different people. We are almost where we need to be heading into the Islands and provincials."

Danielle Groenendijk was selected as DCS’s all-star, after being "almost unstoppable" with her strong attacking and serving. Also playing well were Victoria Neufeld, who had numerous blocks in each set as she continues to play well at a new position, and Miranda Wood with her consistent passing.

Cowichan head coach Cat Parlee was pleased with the way her team played as the T-Birds continue to play catch-up after missing the first month of the season due to the teachers’ strike.

"They did very well, considering most of the teams they played against were independent schools that were a full month ahead of us," Parlee said. "It’s been difficult that way because we did lose out on a big portion of our training period."

Because there is no junior team at Cow High this year and there were no cuts, the team is carrying 17 players, which makes it difficult to manage the roster. All AAAA teams on the Island will play for the Island championship Nov. 14 and 15 in Oak Bay, and Parlee was counting on the DCS/Cowichan tournament to get ready for that.

"This was a good prep tournament because some of them had never been in that situation before, where the gym is really loud and there is more than one game going on at the same time," she said.

Representing Cowichan on the all-star team was Jordan Peterson, who has made strides this year.

"She has come along amazingly in the last two months," Parlee said. "This year, she has realized what an asset she is to the team; we wouldn’t be as cohesive a unit as we are on the floor without her."

The all-star representatives for the other Valley teams were Lake Cowichan’s Cassidy Longbottom, Chemainus’s Jessica Roe, and QMS’s Toni Spiteri.

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