Lightning re-set, take AA bronze

Lightning re-set, take AA bronze

Langley Christian's #8 Caleb Kastelein ready to serve.

Langley Christian’s #8 Caleb Kastelein ready to serve.

By Bob Carter

Langley Christian’s Caleb Kastelein finished the season Saturday at Langley Events Centre the way he played all year, with a strong performance.
The Grade 12’s hit off a blocker completed a 3-0 victory over College Heights that gave LCS the AA bronze medal at the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships.

“He has been so good all year long, but he hasn’t gotten the recognition that others have,” Lightning coach Brynden MacTavish said. “I think he opened a lot of eyes.”

MacTavish thought his team played “fantastic,” especially considering the letdown of losing a semifinal the night before.

“They stayed the course, as they have all year,” he said. “This might be one of the stronger mental groups I’ve had. They realized the game is still a big deal. These kind of games show the immense character you need to play well in them.”

MacTavish also made note of the progress made by Grade 12 Evan Vanderveen. “All year we were trying to figure out who was going to be our second middle, and he blocked out of his mind.”
The Saturday game was also enormously difficult for College Heights, which played a great match Friday. CH was a point away from a five-set win against George Elliot and a spot in the finals only to end up losing 17-15.
The Cougars had been ranked No. 2 in AA much of the season.

EAGLES PLACE FIFTH: MEI grabbed fifth place in AA by beating Surrey Christian 2-0.

#8 Ethan Loewen of MEI brings the team together after a point.

#8 Ethan Loewen of MEI brings the team together after a point.

The Eagles had lost a five-setter to Abby Christian in the quarterfinals (15-12), but worked their way back.

“When you lose a quarterfinal as tight as that was,” said MEI coach Jeremy Lieuwen, “it always shows the character of the team when they have to go on and play. The kids managed it well.”
Lieuwen has high praise for outside hitter Jackson Klaassen and the consistency he showed during the season and in the BCs.
“He was always able to elevate to the next level when needed,” the coach said. “And from a leadership standpoint, he helped whenever the guys got down.”
KELLY ROAD SEVENTH: Kelly Road, which lost three 3-Setters in pool play, ended up seventh. The Roadrunners defeated Richmond Christian in 3 (15-12).
Ninth place went to Prince Charles, which beat Pacific Christian in two straight.
Windermere defeated Lambrick Park 2-0 to take 13th.
SEEDING HOLDS UP: It’s time to salute the zone reps who seeded all the AAA and AA teams for the BCs.

The original top four AAA seeds — Earl Marriott, Van Tech, Claremont and Moscrop — all made the semifinals.
In AA, the top three seeds (George Elliot, College Heights and Langley Christian) qualified for the semis.
The breakthrough team was sixth seed Abby Christian, which bumped MEI, the original No. 4 seed, with a five-set victory (15-12) in the quarterfinals.
Additional evidence, perhaps, was the number of close matches in Wednesday’s pool play.
In each division 50 percent of the matches went to three sets — 15 of 30 in AAA and 12 of 24 in AA.
Two teams, AA’s Revelstoke and Kelly Road, went to a third set in all three of their pool matches. Revelstoke went 1-2 and Kelly Road 0-3.
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By Bob Carter

Captain Milan Tack of Kelly Road gets his team ready to play.

Captain Milan Tack of Kelly Road gets his team ready to play. Photo by VancouverSportsPictures.

During pool play Wednesday, Kelly Road played three 3-setters and lost them all, placing last in AA’s Pool B.

In one match, against Surrey Christian, the Prince George team led 13-8 in the third set and fell 18-16.
The Roadrunners must have learned their lesson because they again went the distance Thursday morning in their first playoff round game against Prince Charles and prevailed in five sets.

“To win this one was a real relief,” coach Todd Kuc said.

Kelly Road overcame a 2-1 set deficit to do it, climbing from an 8-5 hole in the fifth for a 15-13 victory.

“In the last four plays (Kelly Road points), we hit for kills,” coach Todd Kuc said. “We went hard and got it.”

Kelly Road's Braeden Muise rocks a kill past the Prince George Block.

Kelly Road’s Braeden Muise rocks a kill past the Prince George Block.

The team also overcame a strong performance from Prince Charles attacker Riley Ducharme.
Kelly Road’s prize? A quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Langley Christian later in the day.
The Roadrunners played well to make the BCs, beating Duchess Park and DP Todd in the North Central playoffs to snag the second and final zone berth.
LCS ROLLS: Langley Christian easily swept Smithers 3-0 in a match where coach Brynden MacTavish used his bench liberally.
The Lightning’s top hitter, Caleb Kastelein, did not play because of illness.
LCS won the AA top pool on Wednesday and is shooting for its third consecutive provincial title.
Two other strong Fraser Valley teams, MEI and Abby Christian also swept to early-morning victories to advance to a 5 p.m. quarterfinal matchup.
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