Clearly, the sport of volleyball is in good hands at Kelowna Secondary School.
Led by the Owls’ senior boys and girls teams, KSS captured all four Okanagan Valley championships in which the school competed in last weekend.
Owls senior boys
In Kelowna, the host Owls rolled to their fifth consecutive valley boys’ AAA title with successive sweeps of the Rutland Voodoos and Mt. Boucherie Bears.
The Owls, ranked No. 1 in B.C., were challenged by the Bears in the final match, but prevailed 25-21, 25-21 and 25-20.
“The (Bears) pushed us, so it was a great win for the guys,” said Owls’ coach Mike Sodaro. “It was important for us to play well at valleys to be ready for provincials and we were able to do that.”
Devon Cote, Eli Risso and Sam Taylor Parks of KSS were named to the tournament’s all-star team, along with Boucherie’s Brodie Kern and Riley Berthaudin.
Both the Owls and Bears will represent the Okanagan at the B.C. School Sports provincial championships Nov. 26 to 29 at the Langley Events Centre.
The Owls will be No. 1, while Boucherie, coached by John McParland, is ranked third in the province.
KSS has won the silver medal at provincials in each of the last two years.
Owls senior girls
Make it nine consecutive Okanagan Valley titles and counting for the KSS senior girls’ squad.
The Owls wrapped up the 2014 championship Saturday in Penticton with a 3-0 victory over the Mt. Boucherie Bears.
According to their head coach, the Owls—ranked third in B.C. at the 4A level—are in championship form as they prepare for provincials later this month.
“It’s that time of year where we’re at sort of testing where we’re at, to see who’s ready to play at provincials,” said Owls coach Tony Sodaro. “We got to play every single girl and we dominated. It was good to see.
“Now we need to tune it up for the next level where the games will get tougher.”
Sodaro’s Owls were led by all-stars Brooklyn Norman, Kennedy Snape, Quinci Birker, Alexa Eger and Denica Widmer.
Meanwhile, by placing second, the Bears’ senior girls have qualified for the B.C. championships for the first time in 14 years.
Boucherie head coach Deb Trewhitt cited both Sydney Fender and Kayla Sullivan for their strong play over the weekend at valleys.
The provincial 4A girls championship is set for Nov. 26 to 29 in Cranbrook.
Volleyball thriving at KSS
In addition to the senior boys and girls teams winning valleys, the KSS junior boys and girls also struck gold in the Okanagan finals.
Coached by Troy White, the Owls boys defeated Vernon’s Clarence Fulton on Saturday in Kamloops.
In the girls’ championship in Penticton, the Owls downed Sa Hali from Kamloops to win the valley crown. The KSS junior girls are coached by Rochelle Youngberg.
Senior girls coach Tony Sodaro said much of the school’s success on the court stems from the feeder system KSS has in place.
“Mike (Sodaro) and I are lucky in that we have coaches at the middle school level who are doing a great job of feeding our programs here,” said Sodaro. “We have great people volunteering and have built up an extensive program at all levels.”
Sodaro said a winning tradition and volleyball culture at KSS hasn’t hurt the cause either.
“We love to work hard, but we keep fun in our play, too,” he added. “That’s all part of the culture of volleyball at KSS.
“Young players see how big the program is at KSS and many of them want to be part of it.”
The provincial junior boys championship will be played this weekend at Mt. Boucherie, Constable Neil Bruce and Glenrosa Middle School.