For the first time in 25 years, the Cedars Christian Eagles are provincial high school volleyball champions.
The Eagles got the job done Saturday night at the single-A boys championship in North Vancouver, a five-set victory (23-24, 25-15, 25-20, 21-25, 15-12) over the Unity Christian Flames of Chilliwack.
The Eagles had a chance to wrap it up earlier, leading the fourth set 24-19, but the Flames dug themselves out the hole to force the final set.
Led by tournament MVP Sam Nelson and first-team, all-star Ryan Crosina, the Eagles lived up to their billing as the No. 1-ranked team going into the 16-team tournament and they undefeated through seven matches. Middle blocker Olu Okebie was also a standout in the final.
"It was an incredibly exciting final," said Eagles head coach Frank Crosina. "Our boys had to be at their bet because Unity just wouldn't go away.
"But like we have done all year, the boys just played their same game, not too high, not too low, just solid consistent volleyball and it totally paid off. I am pretty proud of their bend-but-don't-break approach to every set they play."
Cedars swept St. Ann’s Academy 3-0 earlier Saturday in the semifinal round. The Flames also won their semifinal match 3-0 over Vancouver Christian.
Frank Crosina’s crew has been building medal momentum for three years, having won provincial bronze in 2021 and silver in 2022.
The Eagles’ only other volleyball provincial win happened in 1998 when the senior boys came home with the single-A title.
The other Cedars players are Jude Poulin, Carter Ceaser, Joshua Olatubosun, Cole Staves, Joe Redden, Jacob Claus, Jonah Oliver, Derek Hampstead, Josh Macdonald and Liam Reusch. Carter Karpenko is the assistant coach and Cole Staves in the team manager.
The Eagles were backed by a vocal crowd of supporters who made the trip from Prince George to Lions Gate Christian School gym.
The Cedars’ senior girls finished 13th at the single-A girls championship in Nelson, finishing with straight-set consolation -round victories earlier in the day over Duncan Christian and Ebenezar. Bella Milton of the Eagles was selected as the top libero in the tournament.
Meanwhile at the double-A boys championship in Langley, the Duchess Park Condors were denied in their efforts to repeat as bronze medalists. They lost in three straight sets to Langley Christian (25-21, 25-14, 25-18) in the bronze-medal game Saturday and were forced to settle for fourth place.
Condors outside hitter Rowan Teegee-Zatorski and setter Liam Martin were picked as second-team-all-stars.
The D.P. Todd Trojans finished sixth after a 2-0 loss to Mennonite Educational Institute. It was the best-ever result for the Trojans senior boys in a high school volleyball championship.
At the triple-A boys championship in Victoria, the Prince George Polars finished their season on a winning note, beating Reynolds 2-0 Saturday to finish 15th.
Three Prince George teams were in action Saturday at the triple-A girls championship in Dawson Creek.
The Duchess Park Condors had a shot at fifth place but lost that match 2-1 to Brentwood College and ended up sixth. Earlier in the day the Condors scored a 2-1 victory over the College Heights Cougars, avenging their loss to College Heights in the tournament opener.
College Heights went on to lose 2-0 to L.V. Rogers in the seventh-place playoff and ended up eighth overall.
The Prince George Polars finished 13th after posting a 2-1 decision over Charles Hays.
The Shas Ti Kelly Road Grizzlies placed 12th at the double-A girls tournament in West Vancouver. The Grizzlies lost 2-0 to Mulgrave and 2-1 to Kelowna Christian on Saturday.