The Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds narrowly beat the Duncan Christian Chargers last Saturday as the two host teams battled for seventh place in the Duncan Christian/Cowichan Secondary Senior Girls Volleyball Invitational.
Every game in the match was as close as possible. The T-Birds beat the Chargers 26-24 in the opener, and the Chargers won the second game by an identical score. The deciding game also needed extra points, with Cowichan prevailing 16-14.
The T-Birds finished first in their pool on the first day of play, sweeping past Campbell River Christian, Gulf Islands and Brookes Westshore. DCS, meanwhile, placed second in their pool with wins over Chemainus and Brentwood College School’s B team, and a loss to John Barsby.
Both teams advanced to the championship bracket on Saturday, and lost their first two playoff matches. Cowichan was beaten 25-22, 25-20 by Lake Cowichan, and 25-12, 25-20 by the Langley Christian junior team.
“Lake Cowichan is always a tough game,” Cow High coach Cat Parlee said. ‘They are very strong and you can never count them out, along with the fact that most of the girls are good friends and play together in club.”
DCS lost their playoff matches to Alberni 25-10, 25-7 and Gulf Islands 25-21, 18-25, 15-10.
“This past weekend proved to be one of great ups and downs and a lot of in the middle,” Chargers coach Jim Brandsma said. “We played our best match so far this season, and arguably played one of our worst matches as well. We had a lot of in the middle matches as well. There were some really great moments by quite a few players over the course of the weekend.”
Barsby went on to beat Nanaimo Christian 25-19, 21-25, 15-13 in the championship match, while Alberni got by Lake Cowichan for third. Barsby’s Kenya Huneault and Nanaimo Christian’s Kaitlyn Vanderkooi shared MVP honours.
Frances Kelsey won the consolation bracket to place ninth overall, with Brentwood B in 12th, Chemainus 14th and Queen Margaret’s School 15th.
All-stars from local teams included Jazmine Charles (Cowichan), Jaymie Brandsma (DCS), Hana Kosemizu (Lake Cowichan), Lauren Weckesser (Kelsey), Victoria Dolgova (Brentwood B), Aona Seto (Chemainus) and Muskaan Rai (QMS).
According to Parlee, Charles led the T-Birds in hitting, followed closely by Kaylee Trent. Tayah Poole and Anika Juergensen continued their development in the middle, and Jessica Castle and Eden Funk provided phenomenal blocking. The team has taken on an international flavour this year with the additions of right-side attacker Gaia Orru from Italy and Saya Sahya from Japan.
“Between Saya and Harmoni Duncan, the liberos kept the serve and attacks from the opposing team from scoring,” Parlee said.
Both Cowichan and DCS will head to Parksville this weekend for a tournament at Ballenas Secondary, and hope to build on what they accomplished and learned last weekend.
“Looking back to the beginning of the season we have made great strides as a team and as coaches look forward to what this coming weekend has in store,” Brandsma said
“We have a great chance for redemption and more experience when we travel to Ballenas,” Parlee commented.