Golden three-peat for Knights; silver for Mustangs
Good things often come in threes.
No one knows it better than the Kelowna Christian Knights who are celebrating a record third consecutive B.C. high school A girls volleyball title.
The Knights defeated their local rivals, the Immaculata Mustangs, in four sets (25-21, 26-24, 19-25, 25-12) Saturday night in the provincial final in Duncan.
"They came in ready to play," head coach Rob Smith said of his Knights. "You could see when they walked in Saturday night, their faces, their body language…they were hungry. It's awesome to win three in a row."
As she has been for much of the year, Knights' 6-foot-3 outside hitter Micaylee Pucilowski was a dominant force and was named the tournament's MVP. Cheyenne Heidebrecht and Haily Blaskovits were named all-stars, while libero Amanda Hardy of KCS was the outstanding defensive specialist.
With nine Grade 12 players on the roster, including all six starters, experience weighed in the Knights' favour—that and a evolving tradition of volleyball at the school.
"I think the school has really developed a culture for girls volleyball, where so many girls seem to want to be involved," said Smith. "We also have a bunch of really good athletes, so that doesn't hurt either."
The Knights are first school ever to capture three straight provincial girls' A titles. Three players—Micaylee Pucilowski, Shaylin Jost and Emma Grimes—were on all three winning teams.
As for the Mustangs, it was their second straight runner-up effort against the Knights and fourth medal in a row a provincials.
Immaculata wrestled the valley title away from KCS two weeks ago, but couldn't find a way to repeat the feat at provincials.
"We had a great season," said Mustangs coach Brian Drosdovech. "(The Knights) came out and beat us, they played just unreal. To win three banners in a row is phenomenal. Winning one is hard enough."
Caroline Livingston and Megan Hart of the Mustangs were named to the provincial first all-star team, while Natalie Livingston was named to the second.
Immaculta and KCS will co-host the provincial A championship next year.
The B.C. champion Knights are: Amanda Hardy, Chelsea Mathews, Katie Pagdin, Isabel Du Plessis, Amanda Jonker, Shaylin Jost, Emma Pagdin, Cheyenne Heidebrecht, Jessica Regehr, Roza Kalashnikoff, Micaylee Pucilowski, Jacqueline Sellers, Hailey Blaskovits and Emma Grimes. The coaches are Rob and Irene Smith.
The KSS Owls won silver and the Mt. Boucherie Bears took the bronze at the B.C. boys AAA championship over the weekend in Kelowna.
The OKM Huskies placed fourth at the boys AA level.
In Penticton, the KSS Owls were fifth at the B.C. girls AAAA championship.
Further details on all tournaments will appear in Thursday's edition of the Capital News.