Earl Marriott’s Jacob Smith (right) returns the ball during a Thursday game against Oak Bay.

Earl Marriott’s Jacob Smith (right) returns the ball during a Thursday game against Oak Bay.

Mariners win provincial volleyball crown

Senior boys, girls teams both land on podium at BC Championships

Champions, at last.

After five top-five finishes – and two championship-game losses – in the last five seasons, the Earl Marriott Mariners senior boys volleyball team finally snagged what they’d been so close to winning for the last half-decade: a provincial title.

Saturday night in Kelowna, in the finals of the BC Boys AAA Championships, the Mariners – ranked No. 2 in the province heading into the tournament – defeated the No. 1-ranked Kelowna Owls in four sets (25-11, 23-25, 26-24, 25-20) to claim the banner.

“The boys had come so close (before), and their mindset heading into the final was that they just weren’t going to let it happen again,” said EMS head coach Bob Smith.

“That’s really what drove them – they didn’t want to be second anymore.”

Last year, the Mariners finished fifth at provincials, and in both 2011 and ‘10, placed second after losing in the finals. The team was also fifth in 2009.

“In previous years, by the time we got to the finals, we were either really beat up and injured, or just outmatched,” Smith said Monday.

“We lost both of those finals in three straight games, and this year, we won the first set handily, and I think the boys were in a state of shock, a little bit, that they’d finally won a game in the finals.”

After a 25-11 first-set win over the Owls, the host team fought back to tie the series 1-1 – “We came out a little nervous after winning the first game, Smith said – but in the third set, EMS battled back from being down 16-10 to win it 26-24, with “a huge stuff-block from Justin Faester” giving the Mariners the win.

Then, with a 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth set, the confident Mariners cruised to the title with a 25-20 win. Though Smith said the fourth game “was a lot of back and forth” the Mariners surged ahead after a series of great serves from Grade 10 Tyson Smith.

“He made five or six tough serves, including a couple aces, and that helped us open it up a bit,” Smith explained. “Then a bit later, we had two great kills from Eric Lee, and that ended it.”

The finals weren’t the only time the Mariners got off to a hot start. They also cruised undefeated through the power-pool – in which the top four seeds play each other in order to re-rank teams for playoffs.

Earl Marriott won all three games, including a win over Kelowna, to whom they’d only beaten once this season in three attempts until that point.

The Mariners also edged Mount Boucherie and Steveston-London en route to being named the top seed for the playoff rounds.

Semiahmoo was the other South Surrey representative at provincials, finishing 14th out of 20 teams.

Marriott’s Jacob Smith was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, while Byron Keturakis and Faester were named to the first all-star team, and Lee named to the second.

The senior boy’s championship wasn’t the only podium finish for Earl Marriott, either. The school’s senior girls’ team won a silver medal at BC quad-A senior girls championships in Penticton, losing to top-ranked South Delta in the championship game.

Simply advancing to the finals was something of an achievement for the Mariners, as they were the No. 9 seed heading into the tournament.

“It would’ve been nice to have been first, like the boys were, but we ran into a really tough, good team in the finals, and that’s how it goes,” said head coach Mark Cassell, who, in 2005, was the head coach of the Semiahmoo Totems senior girls when the school swept both senior boys and girls provincial titles.

“For us to get to the finals, that was an achievement. It was fantastic – it was very exciting.”

Earl Marriott placed third last year.

Cassell said the team’s run to the finals – in a tourney he said was “the deepest provincial championship in years” – was made possible by two things: some lineup and matchup adjustments, and his team simply playing better than they had all season.

Cassell did admit that his troops may have been a bit worn out by the final game Saturday, as a result of playing semifinals earlier that day, as opposed to Friday night.

“Saturday was a bit of a grind, for sure,” he said.

Christie Faester and Cara Keturakis were named to the first all-star team, while Emma Davey and Shayla Stausgaard were second-team all-stars.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford and Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux. (Contributed photos)
BC NDP ‘chose to create a system of chaos’ by holding back COVID-19 data: Cadieux

South Surrey MLAs criticize provincial government after BCCDC documents leak

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
Surrey woman a face of World Ovarian Cancer Day campaign in London, New York

‘It’s so important we find better treatments,’ Catherine Eiswerth says

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

Ocean Athletics’ Roy Jiang – a senior at Southridge School – will study, run track and play clarinet at the California Institute of Technology beginning this fall. (Gordon Kalisch/Fast Track Sports Photography)
‘Triple-threat’ Southridge School student runs toward CalTech

Roy Jiang will compete on track team, play in the university’s symphony and study bioengineering

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read