Clockwise from top left: new banners hang in the Earl Marriott Secondary office; Elgin Park’s triple-A champion senior girls teams; Marriott’s victorious senior boys; Earl Marriott’s senior girls celebrate a third straight Valley championship. (Twitter photos)

Mariners, Orcas win Fraser Valley volleyball championships

South Surrey senior teams to head to provincial championships next week

The gym walls at a pair of South Surrey schools – where championship banners are hung – are set to become a little more crowded, after volleyball teams at Earl Marriott and Elgin Park secondaries finished on the podium at Fraser Valley championships.

Last week, both Earl Marriott Secondary’s senior girls and senior boys teams won their respective Fraser Valley tournaments – triple-A for the Al Schill-coached boys team and quad-A for the girls squad, with longtime coach and teacher Mark Cassell at the helm.

Just a few kilometres west, Elgin Park Secondary was celebrating, too, after the school’s senior girls squad, coached by Cathy Macdonald, qualified for provincials after winning a Fraser Valley triple-A title Thursday with a win over Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Secondary, while the South Surrey school’s senior boys also made the podium at the triple-A level, placing third.

Prior to her team’s championship game – but after they’d already secured a berth at provincials next week in Penticton – Macdonald took to social media to congratulate her team.

“Proud of my @OrcaAthletics senior girls,” she tweeted.

Elgin’s Jaymie Caldwell was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while teammates Sabrina Chapman and Ashley Johal were named all-stars.

The Valley title is the third in a row for Marriott’s senior girls team.

Marriott’s two senior teams had been ranked at or near the top of the provincial rankings since the start of the season; the boys team lost just one game all season, and cruised through Fraser Valleys in the same dominating fashion.

In the title game Friday night on their home court, the Mariners swept Delta 3-0.

Schill told Peace Arch News Monday that his team “kind of just rolled through” the tournament, and are now focusing on the end goal – a provincial title.

“We set the bar pretty high at the start of the season,” he said.

The team will head into provincials – which start Nov. 28 at the Langley Events Centre – as the No. 1 seed, though Schill didn’t expect that lofty perch to affect his crew much at this point in the season.

“We talk about having that bull’s eye on our back before every game,” he said.

Marriott’s Gurshawn Kaler was named MVP of the Fraser Valley tournament, while teammates Jason McGonigle and Ben Schill were named all-stars. Elgin Park’s Lucas Wagner was also selected for the all-star team.

Though they were hesitant to talk about their dual top rankings earlier in the fall – back in early October interview with PAN, Cassell cautioned that there was “still a lot of the season to play before the end,” – both Marriott senior squads are still among the province’s top contenders for a B.C. banner.

“It doesn’t always happen that way but the school has a strong program so it’s nice to see us both up near the top,” said Schill Monday. “We hope good things for the girls, too, and we’ll obviously be hoping for two titles come the first of December.”



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