KSS teams go for double gold
Tony and Mike Sodaro have a lot of good memories to share from the volleyball court over the past couple of decades.
For the Kelowna siblings, nothing would rival coaching their respective teams to a B.C. gold medal in the same season.
The Kelowna Owls girls team, coached by Tony, will attempt to defend its provincial AAAA title this week at Riverside Secondary in Coquitlam.
Mike's KSS boys squad will serve as host for the B.C. AAA boys championship beginning Wednesday morning in Kelowna.
Each Owls squad heads in as the No. 2 seed with a pair of Sodaros hoping to taste victory.
"We're just smiling and high-fiving each other," said Tony Sodaro. "We're both No. 2 and we both feel like we have the best chances of our lives to win another championship. I think it's destiny to bring both of these teams to the gold.
"I know I would give anything to see Mike win a golds, his teams deserves one. And I know her wants the exact same thing for me, so it's pretty cool."
The Owls girls head to provincials on a roll, having lost just one match in the last six weeks. KSS has beaten every ranked team it has faced this season, including No. 1 South Delta, No. 3 Heritage Woods and No. 4 Earl Marriot.
"Of our eight returnees, not many were starters so it took us a while to get going this year," said Sodaro. "But now we're playing a brand of volleyball that's separating us from the rest of the province. I think were' going to show we're the clear No. 1 team and back-to-back gold medal performances are starting too become more or a reality in our eyes and everyone else's."
The Owls boast plenty of depth and are led by the likes of captain Cayte Wilson, Megan Peleshytyk, Erin Konrad and Katie Valgardson.
Even with a gold medal from 2011 in their possession, Wilson says there's plenty of motivation for KSS to make it two in a row.
"It was such a great feeling to win the first time, so to be able to feel that again would be such an experience for all the girls," said Wilson, the team's setter. "What's most important to me is that we play well and have fun, and you can't ask for much more. If we win gold, then that's the cherry on top."
For Mike Sodaro's team, the 2012 season has been a similar story in that KSS boys have been improving as the season has progressed. The Owls played their best volleyball of the season over the last three weeks with tournament wins at George Elliot and the Okanagan Valley finals.
Led by seniors Ty Campbell, Brendan Bourcier and Tyler Pomielartz, Sodaro is excited to see his team vie for a provincial title after years of work and preparation.
"I've been coaching most of these guys since Grade 8, so it's been a long haul," said Mike Sodaro, who coaches at KLO. "I wanted to see this through and see what they can do. It's great that they're in the position they're in now to take a run at provincials."
Sodaro would like to put an end to a lengthy drought for senior AAA boys teams in the city, as Kelowna high school last won a championship in the early 1950s.
The KSS boys will compete in the power pool with No. 1 Fraser Heights, No. 3 Oak Bay and No. 4 Earl Marriot beginning Wednesday. The boys AAA final is set for Saturday, 8 p.m. at KSS.