By Bob Carter
An emotional Josie Webb turned to a well-wisher Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, pumped her fist and screamed “Dover Bay history!”
If that sounds strange after winning a third-place match, the scene requires some perspective.
Webb, the Dover Bay coach, had just seen her top-seeded team win a AAA bronze medal with a three-set win over a talented Moscrop squad and gain the highest finish in school history.
Jeff Webb, her son, had just played his last high school match, finishing with a flourish.
And the Dolphins had done it in their unimitable style, surviving when it looked like they couldn’t.
Down 8-1 in the deciding third set, Dover rallied.
“I told them what I always do,” Webb said. “You’ve been through this a million times. You can do it one more time.”
And they did.
“The passing started happening,” she said. “We were able to get the ball out to Jeff a lot. Moscrop was hitting deep, and I had my powers playing back, where they could pass better. And Quinn Mirau also had some crucial hits.”
The Dolphins closed the gap, took the final three points and won it 18-25, 25-23, 17-15.
AA: Pacific Academy rebounded from an upset loss to Langley Fundamental in Friday’s semifinals and defeated Clarence Fulton for third place, 25-11, 25-20.
“I just told the boys to forget about it,” PA coach Daniel Vissia said, “told them they were a better team than they showed yesterday, to just come out and play like they can. And we had to focus on their big guy (Danny Aspenlieder).”
The second-seeded Breakers grabbed control early in the first set and pulled away late in the second. Setter Andrew Kim, libero Danny Kott and outside hitter Nate Teasdale were big contributors.
Vissia was pleased with his team’s overall performance in the BC’s.
“We played like we know how, except for one game,” said Vissia, whose team fell in four sets to Fundamental. “They were prepared.”
By Bob Carter
Oak Bay got a boost from a third-set loss, and Dover Bay had to scramble back once again Friday as the two Island rivals advanced to a meeting in the AAA semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Barbers defeated Kelowna in four sets, and the top-seeded Dolphins escaped a 2-1 hole against defending champion Earl Marriott to win in five.
Oak Bay, trying to close out its match, rallied back from a 19-13 deficit in the third set before falling 27-25. The pushback produced confidence.
“We wanted to keep that play going into the fourth set,” coach Al Carmichael said. And the Barbers did, jumping to a 4-0 lead and never trailing after that.
“This was the best we’ve played in the tournament,” said Carmichael, who used his bench considerably. “The quality of our play is going up, and we’re approaching how we played in the Island zones.”
He particularly liked the offensive punch provided by 6-5 attacker Nick Mickleberry (25 kills in 45 swings) and 6-4 middle Matt Griffin (9 kills in 16 swings).
The Barbers also had 12 blocks.
Dover Bay, which edged Oak Bay in a five-set Islands final, had to overcome a strong Marriott surge keyed by attacker Tyson Smith and Grade 10 Malakai McMullin. The Mariners took the third set 25-15 to go up 2-1 and looked ready to advance.
But Dover, which twice had survived being down two sets during the season, proved once more that it thrives on close matches.
“I told them we’ve been been here before,” coach Josie Webb said. “I said to relax and play your game, play for each other. And in the end gave them Starburst to pump them up.”
The candy was a nice sweetener for the Dolphins, who got some lift from right side Owen Frey and a huge boost from Jeff Webb, the coach’s son, whose attacks wore on the Mariners.
Dover also elevated its defensive game.
“We started covering the holes where they were hitting as they were putting the ball in spots we didn’t expect,” Webb said, “and we did a better job of picking up the little tips they kept getting on us.”
The smallish Dolphins rolled in the fourth set and took a 3-0 lead in the fifth set. Marriott hung tight, four times closing the gap to one point, before a late Dover burst put the match away 15-11.
“We’re not the kind of team that has a lot of club players (only three),” Webb said. “Everybody has their own little job on offence.”
And the Dolphins worked those jobs to a Friday night final-four spot.