The Carihi senior girls volleyball team is on its way back to the BC Secondary School Volleyball Provincial Championships.
The Tyees secured the top spot from Vancouver Island and booked their ticket to provincials by beating the Stelly’s Secondary Stingers in the Island Championships final 3-1 Saturday at Carihi Secondary.
It’s a tournament that’s been on much of the team’s mind since their appearance in the AAA provincial final last year when they placed a historic second behind Crofton House School.
“This is what they have been working for,” said Tyees Coach Jacquie Chase. “Last year a lot of these guys were in the finals at provincials and they want to get back there.”
The top two teams from Vancouver Island qualify for provincials, so Saturday’s final was to determine who would have the top rank.
Chase said while their was no pressure in the game, the team “wanted to win badly and they wanted that first ranking out of the Island, which will help us.”
The Tyees won the first set handily over the Stingers 25-9, but struggled in the second set.
The Stingers surged to a 15-9 lead before Chase called a timeout.
“We were just making a lot of errors, said Chase, “and I think the kids knew that we were down because we were making errors and we just needed to tidy up.”
The Tyees dropped the set 25-17 – only their second set loss of the tournament – before storming back to win the final two sets 25-17, 25-16.
“They came back and stopped making so many errors,” said Chase. “I think they had confidence that they were going to pull through.”
Tyee supporters cheered and waved a sign that said “Better watch out, #10 is serving looks!” as Austin Cameron stepped up to serve for game point. Her serve went unreturned and the Tyees celebrated their second Island Championship victory in the last three years.
The Tyees last won the Island Championships in 2017, breaking a more than 50-year drought. They were second in 2018.
The Stelly’s Stingers were happy with a silver medal and a ticket to the provincials.
Coach Katie Fast said competing at a provincial tournament isn’t something that often happens for teams at their school.
“We were expecting to come in and play a tough game against Carihi. They’re a great team, they have some great players, so to pull a set off them, I think the girls are really proud,” she said. “The fact that we’re going to provincials, I think they’re pretty stoked about that.”
Both the Tyees and the Stingers were undefeated heading into the final Both teams also saw all their players contribute to the game on the court in the final.
“We had everybody on the court today,” said Fast, “and it didn’t show like we had any weakness, so it was really awesome.”
Fast said that with the current school strike in Saanich, they went into the tournament unsure of how it would go.
“It was a confidence booster for us for sure,” she said. “They played really, really good volleyball, agressive volleyball and they were calm and they were confident in their abilities.”
All season, the Tyees have been pushing themselves by facing off against some of the best AAAA teams in the province. It’s required a lot of travel and commitment from the players, but it’s paying off
“We’ve won games, but we haven’t been having a winning season because we have been pushing and pushing,” said Chase. “I’m so glad we did that because they just rose to the occasion here and it was awesome.”
Chase also credits some of her team’s success to their work with coaches Jesse Knight and Julie Young in SD72’s training academy.
“These girls are training with those coaches multiple times during school hours,” she said. “North Island volleyball I think is going to get better and better.”
In the latest provincial girls AAA rankings from BC School Sports, released on Nov. 8, the Carihi Tyees are ranked fourth.
The provincial championships are in Langley Nov. 28-30.