It's not often that older brother and younger sister have a lot in common. But that happens to be the case with two Carver Christian High School students.
Greater Vancouver Independent School boys' volleyball MVP Curtis Stelzer and Shannon Stelzer, an all-star setter on the girls' team, are sharing a rare moment this weekend as Carver'senior boys' and girls' teams compete for the school's first-ever provincial A banner.
Curtis, a 17-year-old right-side middle, will be looking to help the honourable mention Carver boys improve upon last year's debut at the B.C. high school championships in Kelowna.
Meanwhile, Shannon, a Grade 10 junior, will enjoy a similar experience in Castlegar in a first-ever appearance at the provincials for the Carver girls.
Both Burnaby teens also play club volleyball with the local Focus Volleyball Club.
"Last year, we were just happy to be there, but this year we want to go and do well," said Curtis. "(In the wild-card qualifier) we came out like we got to try our best - with nothing to lose. I am hoping for a top-six finish, but realistically a top nine. That's the hope."
The girls' team has been ranked as high as No. 10 in the province this season.
"This year, we really hoped we'd make it," said Shannon. "Last year, we had a good team. We got to the zones before being eliminated."
The development of the school program is largely due to former David Thompson Secondary grad Henry Chung, Carver's current athletic director and PE department head.
"I don't think our team would be here without him," Shannon said.
"He (Chung) puts a lot of time into us," he said. "When I started playing, he was not married. Now, he's had twins, and he still puts in a lot of time. He's a very good coach."
"We're trying to develop at the younger level. Your team is as strong as the weakest link, and in volleyball you can't hide on the court. You need to develop it," said Chung, who has focused the athletics program at Carver on player commitment in all sports.
As a result, the success of the boys' and girls' volleyball teams has had a positive effect on the 200student eastside Burnaby high school near the border of New Westminster.
Having a common interest brings student factions together and builds on what a high school should be all about," said Curtis.
"Everyone can relate to something. There is something to talk about in the hallways. It makes for a better community," Curtis said.
"It's nice," Shannon added. "People in your class who don't play sports at all became excited when they heard we'd done well. It's our first year, everyone's going to be all excited."
The girls' A provincials finish up at Selkirk College on Saturday.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen. We're not experienced. We have to take every game as a single game and focus at the game at hand," said Shannon.
Meanwhile in Kelowna, the boys' A, AA and AAA championships will culminate with the respective championship finals at Kelowna Secondary, also on Saturday.
"It should be fun. . Everyone's excited," said Curtis, who chose to remain at Carver rather than transferring to a larger high school volleyball program.
"When I was younger, I would have probably said yes. But as I got older, I've seen AA and AAA teams and we're at par with them. School volleyball is more about having fun," he said.
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