The Elphinstone senior and junior girls will be seeking provincial glory at respective provincial championships in the coming weeks after qualifying at a pair of tournaments last week.
The senior Cougars didn’t drop a set in rolling to their second straight Vancouver and District championship held at Notre Dame in Vancouver Nov. 14 and 15.
Elphi was grouped in a pool with York House and St. Thomas Aquinas, both of whom they beat last Wednesday, which qualified them for provincials.
“I didn’t tell the girls that we had qualified after Wednesday because I didn’t want to cruise the rest of the way,” said head coach Jan Richey. “I wanted them to remain focused and if we win the tournament then we get a higher seed and a better placement for provincials.”
Elphi played St. Patrick’s on Thursday in the semifinal, which Richey said was a tough match.
“St. Pat’s is always tough. They are not a big team, but they play big. They always dig out everything and play hard,” she said.
Elphi won in two sets, setting up the final against Richmond Christian.
“That was a great match,” Richey said. “They have some really big hitters. I think they fed their top girl eight of 10 times in a very tight first set. In the second set, I changed up the match-ups and had some of our big blockers on her and we pretty much shut her down the rest of the way. We played great defence and just did a great job all around.”
Richey expects Elphi will be seeded either number one or two with Pacific Academy for the provincials, which start Nov. 29 in Nanaimo.
The team expects a $6,000 price tag to make the trip and is hoping for some financial support from the community.
“These girls have already paid a lot of money all season to travel and play. I’d love for them to get to go and not have to pay anything,” said Richey. “This is a big deal. Not many teams from the Coast qualify to get to go to provincials. I’d like the girls to feel they are really being supported by the community.”
Anyone who would like to donate can do so by contacting the school or School District No. 46, which will issue a tax receipt for any donations of $20 or more.
The junior girls also qualified for provincials, placing second at the Vancouver and District championship at Handsworth Secondary School.
Elphi won their first two matches over teams from Rich-mond and New Westminster, which gave them a berth to the provincials.
In the final, they lost a tough match in a tiebreaker to Moscrop from Burnaby.
“That match was probably the toughest one we’ve played in two seasons,” said coach David Barnum.
“The girls played well, Moscrop just played a bit better.”
The first part of this week was spent fine-tuning and getting ready for provincials, which start today (Friday) in Delta.
Twenty-four teams from around the province will compete at the two-day event.
“We’ve been playing really well. Hopefully it will continue for another few more days,” Barnum said.