by Bob Hall/Nelson Star
The Mount Sentinel Wildcats girls’ team captured bronze in the BC High School Single-A Volleyball Championship on Saturday night at the Selkirk College gym in Castlegar.
The host club came into the provincials ranked third in the province and that’s where they stayed after three hard fought days on the court.
The Wildcats opened the tournament with a 2-1 record in the round robin. The Wildcats beat Langley’s Credo Christian and Similkameen, but were upset by Whiterock Christian Academy in a three-set match.
In the playoff round, the Wildcats disposed of Fernie in three straight sets and then took care of Prince George’s Cedars Christian. The two wins gave the Wildcats a shot at the semi-finals against the number-one ranked Kelowna Christian. The powerhouse Okanangan club proved to be too much for the Wildcats in the semi-final, winning in three straight sets (25-18, 25-8, 25-20).
The loss set up a rematch against Whiterock in the bronze medal game late Saturday afternoon. This time around the Wildcats were determined to at least stand on the podium and disposed of the Lower Mainland team 25-21 and 25-19 to earn the bronze.
“I am satisfied and proud of the girls,” said Wildcats coach Joe Moreira. “We stumbled a little on Thursday [against Whiterock], but we were in solid in all other matches.”
Last season the Wildcats finished 11th with the same roster.
“We have enjoyed a great season, beating some very talented AAAA to AA teams,” added Moreira. “We were confident in our ability to compete with the best teams in the tournament and while we were given a chance to dethrone Kelowna Christian [the 2011 champions], we simply cannot match their physical size.”
The Wildcats are no strangers to the provincial podium having captured the championship four times over the years. They have also earned silver three times and the weekend bronze was the school’s ninth. This was the tenth time the Wildcats have hosted the provincials.
Salmo was also in the mix, coming into the 16-team tournament ranked 16th. The Salmo girls played hard, but came away with only one win in in six matches. Salmo beat Carver Christian of Burnaby in the round robin portion of the tournament on Thursday.
Kelowna Christian claimed the provincial title with a decisive win against Immaculata from Kelowna in the finals (25-10, 25-22, 25-21).