G.P. Vanier played marathon ball Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals in AAA.
The seventh-seeded Towhees from Courtenay outlasted Van Tech in five sets, winning the fifth 19-17. They’ll play No. 2 Earl Marriott on Friday. “It was a grind,” Vanier assistant coach Brian Stevens said. Van Tech trailed 13-8 in the fifth set and scored five straight points to tie it. Van Tech went up by one before Vanier finally pulled it out. Gladstone, the sixth seed, had a huge comeback win in another five-setter. The Gladiators from Vancouver got drubbed in the first two games, 25-9 and 25-17, before rallying to win the next three — 25-13, 25-16 and 15-12. Delta had a long battle, too, beating Fraser Valley rival Johnston Heights in four. The final game score was 30-28 in the 8-9 match. The victory was the Pacers’ fourth in four games this season against Johnston Heights.
“It was a grind,” Vanier assistant coach Brian Stevens said.
Earlier in the day, David Thompson, Mount Baker, Seaquam and Steveston London won to enter the round of 16. Top seed KSS beat Thompson in three straight, Fraser Heights topped Baker in four, Oak Bay defeated Seaquam in three and Marriott beat Steveston in four. Mount Boucherie also gained Friday’s quarterfinals by beating Centennial in three.
In Double A Action
MEI’s quarterfinal showing on Thursday night gave little room for criticism and probably little hope for future opponents in the AA boys provincials. The once-beaten Eagles beat ninth-seeded DP Todd 25-11, 25-10, 25-4, a victory that left coach Jordan Geransky more than satisfied with his top-ranked team.
“They’re executing at every junction point. The execution was nearly flawless,” Geransky said.
Next up on Friday is fifth-seeded Woodlands, which swept Langley Christian in three sets. Woodlands hadn’t played up to expectations earlier in the tournament, but played well this time. “They played free. They enjoyed it,” said LCS coach Micah Jansenvandoorn. “We were tense and looked tight.” The Lightning, who have been led in the tournament by left side Linden Bontkes and setter Brennan Gardner, made 18 errors in the first set alone. Woodlands capitalized, breaking up a close opening game late and then grabbing control in the final two sets. Jansenvandoorn’s team hasn’t beaten MEI this year, but twice took a set from the Eagles. His advice for trying to hang with MEI? “Play the underdog card,” he said. “Play greasy and try to put them in scramble mode.” Geransky thinks his team continues to show good preparation habits and shouldn’t be overconfident.
“We haven’t had a low game all year,” he said. “I feel confident they’ll keep preparing the same way.”