In a marathon race, pace is a key.
Add the element of momentum, and you have a recipe for success.
The Moscrop senior girls Panthers established a strong pace early but couldn’t corral the late momentum at last week’s 4-A provincial volleyball championships in Penticton.
Moscrop finished fourth overall, rising to the challenge of playing eight games and 25 sets over a hectic three days.
Although they fell 2-0 to Lord Tweedsmuir last Saturday in the bronze medal match, the squad delivered on a lot of its promise established over the past few years.
They also improved immensely over last year, when they placed 14th at the B.C.s.
“I am so extremely proud of what they have accomplished in their final year at Moscrop,” remarked Panthers coach Kim Or of a group he’s coached for the past four seasons. “The fourth-place finish topped my last (four-year Panthers) team when we came sixth in (B.C.) at Cranbrook five years ago.”
The Panthers were undefeated in pool play, beating Oak Bay, Penticton, Maple Ridge and Terry Fox.
They kicked off the playoff round with a hard-fought 3-2 decision over South Delta, which went right down to the wire in a 16-14 clincher.
“We just focused on playing point for point and tried to stay even keel and stick with the process,” Or said. “Let the outcome decide for itself. It was back and forth, and (South Delta) got the break they needed and was leading 14-11 when we showed our grit and resilience and came back to beat them 16-14.
During the 15-touch exchange that ended with Alana Leung’s decisive block, setter Sara Tam made a game-saving dig to keep the rally going.
“What a rush it was when Alana got the huge block to win that all-important point.”
Off that huge rally, the squad broke a 1-1 battle with Riverside en route to a 3-1 decision in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals against eventual champion Kelowna, Moscrop took the first set 25-18 before the Interior team gathered itself and took the match with three straight-set wins.
Ending it with a 2-0 loss to Lord Tweedsmuir wasn’t what the team had hoped for, but the gas tank was empty.
Stephanie Sung was named to the second all-star team, while Leung drew an honourable mention award.
“There were a lot of compliments from other coaches and parents that our girls were fun to watch and they really show what a positive culture that we have and the love for each other,” said Or.
Burnaby North, meanwhile, faced a different road after squeaking into the B.C.s.
After going 1-3 in the round robin, the Vikings suffered three straight consolation-round defeats before coming together for a 2-0 win over Okanagan Mission to place 15th overall.
Moscrop boys finish fourth
The Moscrop Panthers senior boys wrapped up the 3-A provincial volleyball championships by finishing fourth overall, falling 3-0 to Claremont in the bronze-medal game.
It came on the heels of a well-played but tough loss to Lower Mainland rival Van Tech, who advanced on the basis of a 3-1 (25-23, 26-24, 21-25, 25-20) win.
The Panthers, who fell to the same Talismen in the Lower Mainland final but three weeks ago, had emerged as their pool’s second-place squad after the opening 24 hours.
They kicked off the playoffs by blanking Oak Bay.
Picking up a first team all-star award was Martin Prinsloo, while teammate Ted Graveson was selected to the second team.