The Elphinstone Cougars finished in fifth spot at AA senior girls provincial volleyball championships last weekend in Surrey.
Hosted by Surrey Christian and Pacific Academy, the 16 teams began pool play on Thursday. Elphi finished second in their pool, losing their first match to Kalamalka in three sets (25-22, 25-27, 8-15), beat DP Todd in two (25-16, 25-12) and beat Smithers in two (25-16, 25-16).
That set up a first round playoff match with a familiar foe, St. Thomas Aquinas, that finished third in its pool after round robin play.
The Cougars prevailed in three sets (25-14, 25-16, 25-20) setting up their next match against co-hosts Pacific Academy.
Pacific, that was ranked higher than Elphi going into the tournament, won the match in two sets (25-20, 25-22), although the match was a close affair according to Elphi head coach Jan Richey.
“We battled very well,” Richey said. “They [Pacific Academy] had their best game against us. They have a weapon at every position and are very good defensively. All in all, it was a good match.”
Richey said coming second in their pool put them in a tough position for the playoffs.
“The process was really great, just in how we played. I was pleased with how well we played overall and that’s what I said to all the girls after the match with Pacific,” Richey said. “I know they were disappointed with the result, but we just had to turn the page and move on.”
The loss dropped Elphi into the consolation side of the championship bracket on Saturday morning where they played St. Patrick, winning the match in two sets, which sent them to the fifth/sixth place match against York House later in the day.
Elphi won the match in three sets (12-25, 25-11, 17-15) to finish fifth overall.
“I’m very happy with the fifth-place finish,” Richey said. “I felt it was a very strong AA provincials this year, much stronger than last year. The top teams have a lot of experience. Many of them play on club teams, a few are on Team B.C. and many also play beach, so they play all year long. Pacific hosted a great tournament and it was a great experience for all the girls.”
The Elphi provincials team included: Kayla Rennie, Marissa Fyles, Sabrina Strom, Chloe Murphy, Natasha Ridge, Tessa May, Jessica Luporini, Stephanie Slingerland, Caitlyn Baker, Loudeth Mancilla and Taila Barnum with coaches Jan Richey and Brittin Korsch.