The George Elliot Coyotes senior boys volleyball team went undefeated to claim the AA Okanagan Valley Championship in Kamloops on Saturday.
Looking for redemption after losing the host berth bid for the upcoming provincial champioships to OKM the week before, the Coyotes needed to finish in the top three to get back to provincials.
Playing their best volleyball of the year, GESS cruised through Friday’s round robin with straight set wins over Southern Okanagan of Oliver, Revelstoke, and Clarence Fulton of Vernon to advance directly to the semi-final and a possible rematch with OKM on Saturday.
Revelstoke ended OKM’s run for the title with a come from behind win in the quarter-final on Saturday morning.
After a shaky first set, the Coyotes battled back to return to the title match for the second straight year with a 18-25, 25-9, 26-24, 25-21 victory over Revelstoke.
On the other side of the draw, Fulton advanced to the final with wins over Vernon and Sa-Hali in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
Elliot came out firing in the final with strong blocking and dynamic attacking, jumping out to an early lead and cruising to a 2-0 lead with 25-21, 25-15 set wins. Assuming the points would begin to fall from the sky rather than being earned, the Coyotes took a collective nap, getting hammered in the third set 10-25.
Elliot withstood some inspired defense and serving from Fulton to open up a 2 point gap midway throught the set, and prevailed with a 25-22 victory to claim their first title in recent memory.
Power hitter Shanes Hayes had an outstanding weekend, with steady passing, great defense, and intimdating spiking. Scott Marshall and Chad Parfitt continued to lead the team with intuitive decision-making in the two setter system as well as adding strong spiking and blocking efforts. Kyle Bergsma and Mitch Olsen blocked well from the middle, the tandem of Justin Peasron and Cameron Lawrence shared the other starting power hitter spot with their best play of the year, and Dale Flowers-Johnson was a rock in the backrow with his calaming, steady demeanor and excellent defense as the libero. Cole Meek, Riley Cahill, and James Brown played key roles, coming off the bench to make big plays at crucial moments.
George Elliot looks to improve on last year’s fourth place finish at the “A”, “AA”, and “AAA” Provincial Championships which run from Novemver 30th to December 3rd at various local high schools including George Elliot as well as UBCO.