The College Heights Cougars proved they can contend with some of the elite senior girls volleyball teams in the province.
At the 40-team UBC Okanagan Heat tournament, held in Kelowna on the weekend, the Cougars finished in a tie for fifth place. In their last match, they defeated the Mount Sentinel Wildcats of South Slocan 23-25, 26-24, 15-11.
The Cougars finished the event with a match record of 4-2. In pool play, one of their victories (21-25, 25-20, 15-13) came against the Kelowna Christian Knights, who went on to play for tournament gold and settled for silver. Also in pool play, College Heights beat the Vernon Panthers 16-25, 25-22, 15-10 and lost to the South Kamloops Titans 25-22, 24-26, 15-13.
In their opening match of the playoff round, the Cougars met the Penticton Lakers and battled to a 25-17, 24-26, 16-14 victory. College Heights then faced the Kelowna Owls and fell 25-14, 25-16. That quarterfinal loss set up the match with Mount Sentinel.
The Cougars tied for fifth with the Handsworth Royals of North Vancouver, who edged Vernon 14-25, 25-18, 15-12 in their last outing.
In the championship final, the Elphinstone Cougars of Gibsons beat Kelowna Christian 25-19, 25-19.
The Cedars Christian School Eagles of Prince George also qualified for the playoffs in the tournament's top division. The Eagles lost playoff matches to Kelowna Christian (25-19, 25-17) and to the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops (25-20, 25-17) before downing the Immaculata Mustangs of Kelowna 25-20, 25-12 for a 13th-place finish.
In the most recent set of provincial rankings, the Cougars were listed at No. 8 in the double-A division and the Eagles were No. 4 in the single-A category. Elphinstone was ranked third in double-A and Kelowna Christian was No. 1 in single-A.
Immaculata, meanwhile, was two spots higher than Cedars in the single-A division so the Eagles could be moving up.
The Cougars will host a tournament this weekend.