North Peace Secondary School’s senior boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams have won their respective AAA and AAAA North Central Zone High School Volleyball Championships in Prince George last weekend, qualifying for the provincial championships Nov. 28 – Dec. 1.
The NPSS senior boys went undefeated at Kelly Road Secondary, defeating Prince George Secondary School and host Kelly Road to finish first in AAA North Central Zones for the fourth year in a row.
“We’d had good success against both teams in the previous times we played them, and we played them very well,” said head coach Adam Stefiuk from NPSS on Tuesday. “As long as we played where we were capable of, I knew we had a very good chance of winning.”
“We played our normal game. We’re just at a different level than those other teams. At times it seemed uneventful but they played to their ability not down to the other teams which is good.”
The Oscars defeated Kelly Road in two straight sets to advance to the final where they met PGSS and defeated them in three sets in a best-of-five match. NPSS, which is ranked 12 in B.C. in AAA, earned a spot in Pool C at the provincial championships in Kelowna Nov. 28.
Blain Cranston was MVP for the tournament while Jayden Roberts and Andrew Stewart were selected as all-stars.
The NPSS senior girls didn’t have the perfect record the boys did in the girls’ AAAA North Central Zone Championships, but they did see the same outcome.
On Friday the girls dropped a match to Corrileau Secondary School out of Prince George.
“Corrileau was the team that we anticipated we’d have to beat to go down there,” said Jim Lovell, the senior girl’s coach. “They’re the team that beat us once in this season, so they were quite excited after they beat us [last time] and it raised their expectations to beat us again.”
“We were somewhat disappointed but there was some advantage to it because it gave us when we played Prince George on Saturday an opportunity to redefine our game.”
NPSS dropped the first set to PGSS but beat them three straight in the semi-final to face Corrileau again for the final. For a bit of redemption, NPSS went on a tear and defeated Corrileau in three straight sets for the title of North Central Zone Champions.
“For the girls it was the first time they finished first in all their tournaments,” Lovell said. “For them it was their first gold, so if there was a time to lose a game it was Friday because that game didn’t matter.”
“I was ecstatic,” Lovell added. “I think for most coaches up north when you’re attempting to get to provincials there are only 16 teams that can go, so from a coach’s perspective this is the topping on the cake. Collectively we’d like to do well but this is an accumulation of all the hard work. It’ll be a really good time, they’ll have fun with it.”
Thea Esau was the tournament’s MVP while Lovell said Jenna Chevalier and Callan Boyd had a great tourney as power hitters and Robyn Devalenila at middle.
Both the NPSS senior girls and boys will travel together via bus to head to the provincial championships in Kelowna (boys) and Port Coquitlam (girls). By sharing a bus the teams are set to save $9,000, but otherwise will have to fund their own trip.
Lovell and Stefiuk are hoping members of the community will come forward with some support to help get them there.
“We’re relying on parents who might know some companies that could offer some support,” Stefiuk said. “With one week to go we don’t have time to sacrifice practice to go fundraise.”
“If anybody would like to sponsor athletics I think it’s a great investment. These players put in a lot of time and effort and it costs a lot to travel. We’re in an unfortunate place where we do have to travel to get competition. It’s a fact.”
The NPSS senior girls and boys will head south Nov. 26 and return Dec. 2.