A fantastic high school volleyball season came to a close last weekend with the Elphinstone Secondary School senior girls team finishing eighth at the provincials in Mill Bay.
The senior Cougars, coached by principal John Brisebois, finished as the second ranked double A team on the North Shore.
In order to qualify for the Vancouver and District playdowns, Elphi hosted a one-day, three-team qualifying tournament between Chatelech and Whistler/Pemberton. The Cougars won the tournament, sending them to the Vancouver and Districts where they finished third. The top four teams qualified for provincials at the nine-team event.
Last weekend at Brentwood College, the Cougars finished second in their round robin pool with wins over Princess Margaret from Penticton and Langley Fundamental and a loss to York House.
That placed them in a cross-over game to decide the seeding for either the top eight or bottom eight of the playoffs.
Elphi beat St. Patrick’s in three sets, which put them in the top half of the playoff draw where they drew Pacific Academy in the quarterfinals.
The Cougars lost in three sets to Pacific, who would eventually win the tournament.
That loss dropped Elphi down into the consolation side of the draw where they lost to Hatzic Secondary from Mission and then lost a close match to DP Todd from Prince George in the seventh/eighth place game.
After a second place finish in the North Shore finals, the junior girls team went to the Vancouver and District playdowns Nov. 13 to battle in the one-day, eight-team tournament.
Elphi beat Burnaby Central and Collingwood to face their rivals from Handsworth in the final, where they lost to the Royals. The second-place finish earned them a spot in the provincials, which were hosted by Seaquam Secondary in North Delta Nov. 21 to 22.
The Cougars were in tough in the 24-team tournament, but played hard against stiff competition.
“It’s a tough tournament for double A schools to go into,” said coach Shannon Whittall. “This is a small program going up against some big fish, but at the end of the day they represented Elphinstone very well.”
The Grade 8 team recently finished second at the Vancouver and District Championships. The Cougars opened play with a win in three sets against Burnaby North, the number one team in Burnaby/New West. They then played, without a break, Handsworth and again won in three sets, setting up the final against St. Thomas Aquinas, where the Cougars dropped the match.
Coach Jane Ostashek said the six previous sets of volleyball caught up with the girls. “They were tired, but we were so happy that they left everything on the court. What a fantastic season,” she said.
And Brisebois echoed those sentiments, praising all three teams, coaches, parents and players for a lot of hard work.
“The majority of these girls we are seeing go through our program and gaining success, is due to not only the great feeder school programs, but also the Sunshine Coast Volleyball Club and Jan Richey and Barry Krangle,” Brisebois said. “Their efforts are giving our players so many opportunities. We have players that are playing at all levels — signing with university and college programs, playing on the national team and in Europe, which is really fantastic. It really is a community effort.”