The Victoria Chargers 13-and-under boys volleyball team are B.C. club champions after a successful run at the provincials in Abbotsford on April 29-30.
Loaded with Saanich talent from Gordon Head and Arbutus middle schools, the team rebounded from an opening round loss to win its quarterfinal, semifinal and final round matches.
“It was quite a surprise because we’d only been in one tournament this year against teams our own age,” said Keith Cooke, who co-coached the team with Todd Schroeder.
The Chargers did play a U13 Vancouver tournament this spring but did not have the regular lineup there and finished out of the podium in standings.
The rest of the spring the Chargers played Island teams such as U15 girls or U14 boys teams, just to get competition.
“The teams were bigger and taller, but it was the only local competition we could find,” Cooke said
When it came to the provincials, the Chargers needed a chance to get their legs under them.
Losing the first round didn’t make it any easier, Cooke added.
“That meant we had to play the best team from each of the other pools in the quarters and semis.”
The team featured a couple of standouts, such as Grade 5 player Piers deGreef (whose older brother Luke won provincials with the Chargers U14 boys last year), who more than carries his weight with the group of Grade 7 aged players.
The team defeated the Orangemen (Abbotsford) 25-23 and 25-27.
“We were hoping to win the provincials but we didn’t know what to expect because for half of our team it was their first year in organized volleyball,” Cooke said. “To get them ready from January to now and win provincials was quite a feat.”
Team member Kai Toker’s big sister Kaleigh Toker (Claremont, power hitter) also won provincials with the Victoria Volleyball Association’s U16 girls.