The Earl Marriott Mariners had a pair of top-10 finishes at B.C. High School Volleyball Championships on the weekend, highlighted by the senior boys’ second-place finish in Kelowna.
The Mariners’ senior boys squad ended up with silver medals at the provincial tournament, losing in the championship game to the Oak Bay Breakers, 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-17).
“They took us apart a little bit in that one, I’ll be honest,” said Richard Thain, who was Marriott’s co-head coach alongside Bob Smith. “Man, did those guys come to play. But our boys played great, and we’re as excited as you can imagine.”
Meanwhile, Marriott’s senior girls side, playing in quad-A B.C.s in North Vancouver, finished in sixth place.
The Mariners were the highest-placing South Surrey school at both events; the Elgin Park Orcas and Semiahmoo Totems finished ninth and 15th, respectively, at the boys provincials, while the Orcas’ senior girls team was eliminated in quarter-finals in North Van, losing to Oak Bay, 2-1.
The Mariner boys’ second-place finish in Kelowna was the team’s second straight silver medal; in 2010, they lost in the finals to Semiahmoo.
After finishing second in the power pool, the Mariners defeated Burnaby North in the first playoff round, followed by a win over Mount Boucherie in quarter-finals and Penticton in semifinals.
Against Penticton, the Mariners needed a late-game comeback to win it. Trailiing 24-20 in the final set, they rallied to win 33-31.
“That was enough to give a coach a heart attack,” Thain joked.
The Mariners were among the province’s best all season, never falling out of the top five in provincial AAA rankings.
“They had a very strong team this year – it was nice to see them do so well,” said Semiahmoo coach Kyra Iannone, who also had praise for Elgin Park, who finished inside the top-10 despite being one of the tourney’s youngest teams.
As for her own squad, she said the 15th-place showing was not an accurate barometer to measure her team’s play in Kelowna. On the tournament’s first day, Semi defeated both Eric Hamber and Mount Boucherie secondaries, who finished fifth an seventh overall.
“We beat some very good teams, and we had a very, very good first day,” Iannone said.
“We just had a tough draw (after pool play), and had a rough game at the wrong time.”
After pool play ended, the Totems were bumped from the 12th seed to eighth, which meant a matchup against North Peace, who knocked then into the consolation bracket.
“I’m not too upset about it. We had a bit of a young team this year, and the boys played well – they should be really proud of themselves,” she said.
The Totems also played the entire tournament without starter Alex Klassen, who was sidelined by a concussion suffered in a rugby game.
Fifth-seeded Elgin Park was upset early in the tournament, too, losing in the round of 16 Thursday to lower-seeded Eric Hamber, 3-2 (17-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-16, 15-12).
Earl Marriott’s Jim Bell and Chris Wilson were named tournament first-team all-stars, while teammates Elliott Stewart and Jacob Smith earned honourable mentions.
Girls’ all-star teams were not available by Peace Arch News’ press deadline.