- BC Games
Marriott senior girls 'a work in progress' on volleyball court
Just a few weeks into the senior girls volleyball season, Mark Cassell may still refer to his group as “a work in progress” but there’s plenty of teams across B.C. that would kill for such a project.
The Mariners, after all, are among the province’s elite quad-A volleyball squads. They were ranked as high as second at the start of the season, but have dropped a few spots after back-to-back fifth-place finishes at tournaments last month – first at the prestigious 48-team UBC Mizuno Volleyball Classic, and second, last weekend at Trinity Western University.
At the TWU event, Marriott was eliminated from title contention after a quarter-final loss to South Delta.
Still, the Mariners are firmly entrenched among the province’s top-10, and are 2-1 in league play. After wins earlier in the season over North Surrey and Yale (Abbotsford), on Monday night the Mariners were edged by their crosstown rivals from Elgin Park, themselves among the top quad-A teams in the province. The game went five sets, with Elgin winning the decisive fifth, 15-13.
“We’re still making mistakes, and there’s still a lot we can improve on,” Cassell said. “Our offence can always get better.
“But that’s why you go into these tournaments early in the season – to get sharp and to play some really good competition.”
Cassell has good reason to have such high expectations for his squad.
The Mariners were third at provincial championships in 2012, and have returned all but two graduating seniors from that team. And though they’re still shaking off the early-season rust, Cassell – who, prior to moving to EMS coached Semiahmoo Secondary to three consecutive provincial titles from 2005 until 2007 – is confident his team will be playing its best when the playoffs come.
“I think we’ll be just fine. We have a good group here and they’re working hard,” said Cassell, who has coached at Earl Marriott since 2009.
Though they’re without two key members of last year’s side – including Tessa Neil, who moved to Kelowna – Marriott still boasts plenty of depth on its roster.
Cassell was especially impressed with the early-season play of Grade 11 middle Anjelica Kilberg, who was named at tournament all-star at UBC.
Other key returnees from last year include Amy Vicic, Emma Davey and setter Shayla Stausgaard, and middle blocker Stephanie Dufour.