The Moscrop Panthers reached their goal and then some at the B.C. high school 4A girls’ volleyball championships.
The Lower Mainland runner-up finished in sixth place at the quad A provincials in Cranbrook following a three-set loss to Earl Marriott of Surrey in the battle for fifth spot on Saturday.
Senior Ernestine Tiamzon and Grade 11 Isabella Cheung were both named second team all-stars following the provincials.
“We all shared a few tears when it was over,” said Moscrop coach Kim Or, who led the Panther girls to five consecutive district championships. “I am sure down the road when they look back on what they have accomplished as a team at Moscrop they will be proud of their achievement.”
The Panthers finished second in their pool to eventual third-place Kelowna.
They then achieved their pre-provincial goal, qualifying in the top eight following a straight-set win over Belmont in the championship round.
In the quarter-finals, Moscrop dropped a tough five-setter to Handsworth – the team it beat at the Lower Mainlands – 24-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12.
Moscrop ensured itself of a top-six placing, beating Elgin Park on a 19-17 tiebreaker in the consolation round.
“The whole team put in so much work all year. It made it really, really wonderful,” Or said. “It was a really good ending after all.”
For Tiamzon and Cheung to both be selected to the all-star team was also a big accomplishment for a sixth-place-finishing team.
“They did really, really well, especially in the round-robin,” said Or. “They were playing really good defence and swinging at all the balls that were coming their way.”
But it really came down to a team effort, Or added.
“We never thought ahead. It was always next point,” he said. “The only bummer was no top four.”
The five-set tiebreaker in the quarter-finals was reminiscent of the last time Moscrop and Handsworth met in the semifinals of Mainland qualifying, a similar marathon match that went the distance but with the Panthers coming out on top.
It was very, very close, but no shame,” Or said. “They wanted to finish in the championship round.”
But it was what the senior girls brought to the volleyball program off the court at Moscrop that most impressed Or.
Earlier, Liza Fesechko coached the junior boys’ volleyball team to a Vancouver and District banner. Dayna Kwan and Natalie Yu helped a Grade 9 Moscrop team to the V&Ds, while senior captain Lauren Hum also coached the junior girls to the city and provincial championships.
“They all gave back to the Moscrop volleyball program. They’re truly student-athletes,” Or said.