The College Heights Cougars won the CHSS Senior Girls Volleyball Invitational for the third year in a row on the weekend, defeating crosstown rival Cedars Christian Eagles in straight sets, 25-21, 25-15, in the gold-medal final. It was the third tournament win for the Cougars this season and the fifth time they reached the final.
Quinn Cassie, a second-year right-side hitter for the Cougars, said this year's team is different from the 2012 team, due to the graduation of the majority of the players, so with a new group, comprised mainly of Grade 11 players, each victory is sweet.
The young Cougars will have a new challenge in the B.C. high school provincial championship this season as well. Due to the enrollment numbers of girls in Grades 11 and 12 at CHSS for the 2013-14 school year, the Cougars will compete in the triple-A competition instead of double-A.
Cassie said she's looking forward to battling the Duchess Park Condors and Kelly Road Roadrunners at the zone championship next month for a ticket to the provincial championship in Duncan.
"I'm excited because we're going to see all brand new teams that we haven't played yet because we've been double-A the past couple of years," said the 16-year-old.
Before beating the Eagles in the final, the Cougars finished on top of Pool B with a 3-0 record, followed by the D.P. Todd Trojans, Roadrunners and Correlieu Clan (Quesnel) all with 1-2 records.
In Pool A, the Eagles and Caledonia (Terrace) Kermodes both finished with 3-1 records, followed by North Peace (Fort St. John) and the PGSS Polars at 2-2. The Fort St. James Falcons were 0-4.
The semifinals pitted North Peace against the Eagles and the Kermodes against the Cougars. After a close, back and forth first set, the Eagles appeared more dominant in the second set, defeating North Peace 25-21, 25-19. Meanwhile, the Cougars killed in the first set with the Kermodes, easily spiking out a 25-13 win, but their opponents woke up in the second set and looked like they would force another set until the hosts found their game.
"We got in a little [rut]," said Cassie, crediting Cougars' captain Danika Kettles with getting the team to focus. "She's just really good at communicating with everyone and pumping us up."
On their fourth set point the Cougars were finally able to defeat the Kermodes by a 28-26 score as the Eagles' players looked on awaiting their opponent.
The Kermodes defeated North Peace for bronze 2-1 (16-25, 25-19 and 15-9).
During the Thanksgiving Day weekend, both the Cougars and Eagles teams competed at the UBC-Okanagan 40-team tournament in Kelowna, where Cedars placed fourth and CHSS was fifth. The Prince George teams didn't face each other in the event.
Trojans volley for gold
In senior boys volleyball, the D.P. Todd Trojans hosted the invitational eight-team Trojan Wars.
The Trojans made it to the finals, and for the second weekend in a row faced a team from Terrace in the championship game. Last week, the Trojans lost a three-set match to the Caledonia Kermodes at the Jon Bragg Memorial at CHSS.
The D.P. Todd boys had a better fate on their home court, beating the Centennial Christian Seahawks in straight sets, 25-20, 25-18.
Cole Waldie of the Trojans was voted tournament MVP by the eight coaches, while Colby Molcak was named the most defensive player. Other D.P. Todd players singled out were all-stars Haydn Molcak and Keiran Leboe.
Lucky 13 for Cougars
The senior boys from CHSS were at the annual Best of the West tournament in Kelowna last weekend where they finished 13th out of 32 teams from British Columbia and Alberta.
The Cougars finished the round robin with a 2-1 record, beating Fleetwood Park (25-13, 25-17) and the seventh-ranked double-A school Princess Margaret (25-17, 21-25 and 15-11) before losing to David Thompson (19-25, 13-25).
A second-place finish in their pool advanced the Cougars to the gold playoff, where they were matched up against the perennial double-A powerhouse M.E.I. - the top ranked team in the division for senior boys. The Cougars lost 14-25, 22-25 to M.E.I. and then fell to the fifth-ranked double-A team OKM in three sets, 2-1 (16-25, 25-20 and 10-15).
But the Cougars rebounded with a win over Holy Trinity (Edmonton) 25-23, 25-22.