A month after being crowned provincial volleyball champions, Seaside Surf’s under-18 boys team now has a national silver medal to add to their resumé.
The Semiahmoo Peninsula team placed second last weekend at the six-day 2018 Volleyball Canada Nationals, which were held in Edmonton.
In total, Seaside won a club-record eight medals out of a possible 11, highlighted by the U18 boys’ Div. 1 (Tier 1) medal. Other podium-finishing teams included Seaside’s U14 boys team, which won gold in Div. 1 (Tier 3), and the U14s, which won silver in Tier 2.
On the girls side, Seaside’s U17s won a Div. 1 (Tier 2) gold medal with a three-set win over reigning B.C. champion Thunder Blue; the U16 Surf won silver in Div. 2 (Tier 2) after a loss to a Leaside, Ont. team; the U18s took bronze in Div. 2 (Tier 2); U15s won silver in Div. 4 (Tier 2) and the U14 team claimed silver in Div. 3 (Tier 2).
“So many great stories,” said Seaside club president Shane Donen, who added that the U18 boys’ silver medal “capped a magical season” for the team.
The Seaside U18 boys had a tough road to the gold-medal game, lining up – and defeating – a slew of top teams from across the country. In pool play on Day 2, Seaside won their pool after a win over the defending national champions from Edmonton-based Nooks Volleyball Club, and in quarter-finals they defeated Prince George.
In semifinals, the Surf beat another Alberta squad, FOG Volleyball, to advance to the championship game, where they fell to the Pakmen Volleyball Club from the Greater Toronto area.
Seaside head coach Dave Dooley – who said his team rose to the occasion “time and time again” during the course of the tournament – heaped praise on the entire team, which he noted has largely been the same for the past six years.
“This is the end of quite a run for this group of young men,” Dooley told Peace Arch News.
“It was tough to come up just short of our goal, and tears were shed, but they were shed out of the love we felt for one another and in seeing this all come to an end rather than because we lost.”
Seaside Surf setter Malachi McMullin and left-side Michael Dowhaniuk – who was named MVP of provincials in April – were both named all-stars at the conclusion of the tournament. Dooley called McMullin’s all-star nod “an amazing accomplishment” considering that the teenager came back from a severe ankle injury suffered in November, and only in January switched to the setter position while recovering from the injury.
“All in all, I’m tremendously proud of all of these young men… I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the privilege of working with these guys for the past three years,” Dooley said.