Aside from a slow start in the championship final, the KSS Owls left little doubt about their dominance at the 2014 UBC Okanagan Heat Ogopogo high school girls volleyball tournament.
The Owls, ranked third among 4A teams in B.C., downed the fifth-ranked Handsworth Royals in three sets on Saturday at UBCO to claim the gold medal.
“We didn’t come out very sharp, we lost the first set, then were down 5-1 in the second,” said Owls’ coach Tony Sodaro. “So we called a time out to wake the girls up and they responded. That’s tough to do…they really played well after that and there wasn’t much Handsworth could do. It was a gutsy comeback.”
Up until the final, the Owls had lost only one set all weekend—rolling through their power pool in straight sets, defeating Clayton Heights in the round of 16, Immaculata in the quarterfinals, and Vernon Secondary in the semis.
The Owls were led by Quinci Birker, a Grade 11 setter who stepped up to fill the role of power hitter for much of the tournament. Birker was named the weekend’s MVP.
“Quinci has got to be one of the best, if not the best player in B.C.,” said Sodaro.
Owls teammates Tessa Neil and Kennedy Snape were named to the tournament’s all-star team, along with Natalie Livingston from Immaculata.
The Mustangs, the top A team in B.C., tied for seventh overall.
Mt. Boucherie tied for ninth, while OKM placed second in the Blue Division.
Meanwhile, KSS was without one of its top players for the tourney, Aidan Lea, who was away for a recruiting visit at the University of Colorado.
The Owls will host the annual Best of the West tournament Oct. 18 and 19.