As far back as the season’s first serve, the Kelowna Christian Knights had a hunch they just might be good enough to write a new chapter in school history.
On Saturday night in Prince George, the 2011 edition of the Knights became the first girls sports team at KCS ever to win a provincial title as they struck gold at the B.C. A volleyball championship.
The No. 2-ranked Knights didn’t drop a set all weekend, capturing the B.C. crown with a 3-0 win over the No. 1 seed High Road Academy in the final—25-15, 25-15, 25-20.
“When we started the season, we saw how good the girls were and said ‘Hey maybe we can do this,'” said Knights coach Rob Smith, whose Knights won silver last year. “You’d think the fact that no girls team had ever won may have put pressure on them, but we thought ‘Why avoid the elephant in the room?’ The girls didn’t shy away from the challenge, they wanted it from the start and went out and got it. It was amazing to see.”
The Knights tore through pool play with a 3-0 record, knocked off Ebenezer Christian in the quarterfinals, then defeated rival Immaculata 3-0 in the semifinals.
Then, after just a few serves in the final, Smith said the Knights could taste gold.
“Once they played a half a set with High Road, they knew it was their’s for the taking.
“We are a very balanced team,” Smith continued. “Every other team had weak links. We had a better top seven players than any team there, and that was the difference.”
Knights’ power hitter Jesse Randhawa was named the provincial championship MVP, while setter Rachel Penner earned first all-star recognition.
As luck, or coincidence, would have it, the gold medal victory fell on coach Smith’s 57th birthday and following the match, he was serenaded by his players with a rendition of Happy Birthday.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “What a team.”
The B.C. champion Knights are: Jenna Ratzlaff, Sarah Roberts, Rachel Penner, Karissa Erhardt, Jessie-Lynn Daase, Jenica McKenzie, Sarah Goossen, Rachel Pagdin, Jasmine Randhawa, Kristin Regehr and Kelsi Taron (injured), and Grade 10 call-ups Emma Pagdin, Micaylee Pucilowski and Shaylin Jost.
The coaches are Rob and Irene Smith.
The Immaculata Mustangs defeated Richmond Christian (25-18, 25-15) in the third/fourth place game to earn the bronze medal.
The Mustangs, coached by Brian Drosdovech, had two players earn all-star recoginition—Siobhan Fitzpatrick was named to the first team, while Erin Jacobs was named to the second.