In front of about 600 loyal fans at the Langley Events Centre, the Belmont Secondary School Bulldogs repeated as AAAA BC High School Senior Girls Volleyball Provincial Champions.
The team was led by tournament MVP, Savannah Purdy winning in three sets, 25-12, 25-16 and 25-16 over the Handsworth Secondary School Royals. Purdy was also awarded the MVP in 2016’s win, making her a rare two-time winner of the award.
“Savannah was marvellous today, I’m going to miss coaching her so much,” said Bulldogs head coach Mike Toakley as he celebrated the repeat with friends in the stands.
He also added that it was clear from the get go that Handsworth’s semi-final match earlier in the day against Earl Marriott took a lot of the Royals.
“From the get go it was clear that they (Handsworth) were not as strong as they normally would be,” Toakley said. “We’ve played them earlier this year, and we know how good they are when they’re fresh.”
The Bulldogs game plan was clear from the get go, as they tried to make Royals star player, Kayla Oxland, move as much as possible to keep her from setting the ball perfectly for the Royals attackers.
“She’s so fast and athletic,” Toakley said. “Anything you can do to get her off her game is going to help because she’s the straw that stirs that drink for sure.”
Long-time Royals head coach Tom Oxland didn’t make any excuses for the loss, saying the better team won today.
“Belmont played awesome,” Oxland said. “We’ve known all year if we play a bigger team then us and don’t win the serve-serve receive game, we’re probably going to lose.”
Two-time tournament MVP Savannah Purdy was ecstatic after the game as she celebrated with here teammates – the majority of the team has been playing together in school and club volleyball with the Victoria Chargers since Grade 8.
“Our goal today was to stay calm,” Purdy said. We’ve been playing together for a real long time, so we’re good at calming each other down when we’re on the court and playing our system as a team.”
She also added that her mom had hinted with a smile and nod in her mom’s direction that the team may be celebrating the victory at her house tonight, just as long as the make the seven-o’clock ferry home.
The Bulldogs also relied upon two other key players this tournament, Grade 12, Miranda Cyr and Grade 11, Taylee Pomponio. Both players were named First Team All Stars.
“I felt we were really in our element today and playing our best,” said Cyr, the team’s standout libero.
And next year’s Bulldogs team will be in good shape with both Taylee Pomponio and Second Team All Star Grace May returning to the team, along with Aspen Nemeth and Jocelyn Sherman.
“It’s real exciting,” Pomponio said grinning ear-to-ear. “We’re hoping to have a good team again next year with the four of us returning.”
Earlier in the day, Earl Marriott knocked off Semiahmoo, in two sets, 25-22, 25-22 for the Bronze Medal.