The Elphinstone Cougars girls' volleyball team is working hard to maintain its number two ranking as the league schedule wraps up and the post-season push begins.
The Cougars have lost only two sets and one match so far all season. They are 14-0 in North Shore league play (with two league matches remaining) and have won several tournaments including a 16-team event last weekend in Burnaby.
Elphi easily rolled through its round robin games with a 3-0 record and beat Burnaby Central with ease in the semifinal, setting up a finals date with Pinetree from Coquitlam.
For the first time in a while, Elphi was pushed, winning the first set 25-17, losing set two 20-22 and winning set three 17-15 to win the title. Elphi was down 11-14 in the third and decisive set.
"There wasn't a lot of strong teams last weekend, but Pinetree certainly posed a challenge for us," said head coach Jan Richey. "We're going to have to be strong down the stretch here because it's only going to get harder."
This weekend Richey's expects the team will be tested at a tournament in White Rock that will feature several AAA teams, which are ranked provincially.
"And even though we haven't been tested too much in the North Shore league, playoffs are a different thing altogether," she said. "If we do get out of the North Shore then it's the Vancouver and District, and that again is where we will see many of the top-ranked Vancouver teams."
Coming off a North Shore title, Vancouver and District title and a trip to the provincials last year, expectations were high for the team to equal or surpass their success this year.
"We have a good mix of veterans and rookies," Richey said. "Devan May and Michelle Jakszuk both have Team B.C. experience and club-level experience. They are very strong players and good leaders on the team. The Grade 11 players are stepping up in practice and in games. I've been preaching all year long that we have to be a team and we will only succeed as a team, not as individuals. Everyone has done that and more."
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