It was an exciting evening of volleyball action at the Langley Events Centre as both the Abbotsford Christian Knights and Langley Christian Lightning advanced to the BC AA High School Senior Volleyball Championships final.
Both schools are only separated by a mere 33 km, so it should be a rowdy night tomorrow, as these two Fraser Valley rivals clash at the Langley Events Centre at 7:00pm.
After a hard fought, very close four set win (28-26, 25-20, 25-27, 25-21) over a scrappy Duchess Park Condors team, Head coach Carol Hofer and the Lightning look forward to the challenge of meeting their Fraser Valley rival in the final.
“It was a tough match because it was an emotional match and I think Duchess just kind of lost control of themselves and that was the turning point for us,” Hofer said as she received congratulations after the big win.
Hofer will also hoping for a three-peat of sorts, as she has lead the her son Brodie and the Lightning to a Junior Boys Provincial Championship in 2015 and a AA Provincial Championship last season. Something she says that if they’re able to pull it off it would be pretty special.
“Overall, I feel great and I think our team is really starting to play well,” Hofer said. “We got better each match and we still have room to get better yet, so we’re in good shape for tomorrow.”
And as for what Hofer feels the keys to victory are in tomorrow’s final, she replied, we’re going to have to serve tough, block well and hit the ball well.
Knights Advance to Final
In the other semi-final, behind one of the loudest crowds in high school sports, the Abbotsford Christian Knights knocked off the tournament’s biggest surprise, the College Heights Cougars in four sets (25-22, 20-25, 25-18, 25-18).
Head coach Anthony Janzen was pleased with how his team preformed tonight, calling it a real team effort with all seven guys firing on all cylinders, including 16U Canadian National Team member, Cole Brandsma.
“Cole Brandsma was lights out today,” Janzen said as he celebrated the win with his team. “He’s definitely is a superstar, but he was certainly supported by six other awesome players today.”
Janzen believes the turning point of the match happened in the third set when his team flipped a switch and really started to believe they could win.
The Knights now look forward to meeting a team they are very familiar with having played them six or so times this year.
“Langley is an awesome team with an awesome player (Brodie Hofer), and an awesome supporting cast,” Janzen said. “We’ve fought back and forth with them all season, and I think they’ve won four times and we’ve won two, but if we play like we did today and make it a team effort, and all of our big guys are hitting, we match up really well against them.”
Janzen also added that winning a title at AA to go with the one the Knights won at Single A in 2014 would be pretty special for a team that wasn’t even at AA High School Provincials last season, because they did not qualify.
For the rest of today’s AA High School Boys Volleyball results, CLICK HERE.
By Bob Carter
Langley — The Langley Christian team had seen College Heights’ defensive prowess earlier in the Big Kahuna BC Volleyball Championships.
The Lightning knew they had to beat that defence to win the AA title match on Saturday night. And they did, claiming the championship in four sets.
LCS started slowly, dropping the first set 25-19 to a College Heights team that had knocked off Langley Fundamental and Pacific Academy, the top seed, to reach the final.
“We had a little bit of jitters,” said AA tournament MVP Brodie Hofer, the son of coach Carol Hofer. “But we got out of it pretty quickly.”
The Lightning came on strong late in the second to win that set 25-22, took a close third 25-23 and pulled away in the fourth for a closing 25-18 victory.
“This is a team that plays good defence,” Brodie Hofer said of College Heights, “but we eventually broke them down.”
Hofer’s power hitting had the most to do with that, and he got help from other hitters like first-team all-star Reid Marriott, Parker Heppell and Christian Christie.
The Lightning rode their team slogan, “90 Days,” all the way to their second BC title in five seasons. The 90 days represented the time span of the first practise up to Dec. 3, championship night.
“We counted down every day,” Brodie Hofer said. “We promised each other we’d do whatever it took to get there.”
The promise wasn’t broken.
Award winners: Nick Hansen of College Heights was a repeat winner, earning the AA Outstanding Libero award. Michael Dowhaniuk was the AAA Most Outstanding player, and Nathan Ziemanski of Dover Bay was the AAA’s top libero.
College Heights’ Ben Shand and setter Graham Walkey were first-team all-stars.