Ranked No. 1 all season in B.C. senior AAA boys volleyball, nothing less than another Okanagan title would have been acceptable for the KSS Owls.
Mike Sodaro’s team didn’t disappoint on Saturday at Mt. Boucherie Secondary, defeating the host Bears to capture their seventh consecutive valley championship.
Led by senior Spencer Doody, the Owls had a hiccup in the second set but were still too much for the Bears en route to a 3-1 win (25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-16.)
“It was a good effort,” said Sodaro, the Owls head coach. “You wonder how the guys are going to respond after a two-week layoff, but they did well.
“The expectations as No.1 are tough, but I think the boys have handled it well.”
KSS will be the top seed, while Boucherie is ranked sixth.
Despite coming up short in the valley final, Bears coach John McParland likes what his team has to offer heading to provincials.
“We can certainly play at the level of KSS but we struggle to maintain that level for an entire match,” McParland said. “The team has been getting stronger and stronger as the season progressed and I have high expectations for them going into provincials.”
The Owls have been so close in recent years at provincials, winning consecutive silver medals in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
It is no secret what KSS expects of itself in 2016.
“Our expectations never change, we want to win it all,” said Sodaro. “It’s a matter putting it all together at the right time.
“This team is right up there with the best teams we’ve had. We’re deep, we have three or four guys that can come off the bench at any time and we don’t miss a step. Anything can happen at provincials, but if we play our best we should be right there in the end.”
11 straight for KSS girls…
It didn’t come easy, but the KSS Owls managed to make it 11 consecutive Okanagan 4A senior girls volleyball titles.
After dropping the first two sets of Saturday’s valley final to the Pen Hi Lakers, the Owls rallied back to win the last three sets, including a nail-biting 16-14 victory in the fifth.
Falling into a big hole early against Penticton, coach Tony Sodaro had to pull out all the stops in the comeback win.
“I tried every line up possible,” he said. “I created a new one for the third, fourth and fifth sets.”
With the win, the Owls, ranked sixth in the province, have booked a spot at the B.C. 4A girls championship, Dec. 1 to 3 at Handsworth Secondary in North Vancouver.
Despite being second at valleys, the Lakers now have to go through a wild card tournament qualifying process next week, for a chance to get to the B.C. championship.
“It’s unfortunate that such a strong team (has to travel to a wildcard tournament),” Sodaro said of the valley not being granted two provincial berths. “Good luck to the Pen Hi Lakers, who deserve to be in the provincials this year.”