Claremont comes out Focused and wins Bronze

Claremont comes out Focused and wins Bronze


The 3A Bronze medal game between Claremont Spartans and Okanagan-Mission Huskies was a match-up between the number three and seventh ranked teams respectively as they were entering the tournament. On the big stage and on the big court- as the match played out- it looked like OKM showed some youthful nerves as a team. On the other hand, Claremont looked like a team that wanted revenge for a loss from the previous night’s exciting close semi-final. Claremont’s coach Shon Ryan, ”

“KSS was a tough loss but nice for us to bounce back today. It’s a tough game to win….There was a lot of disappointment last night but today we were pretty focused….It’s not what we were hoping for but I’m proud of the guys….It’s a great group.”

Claremont really dominated at every aspect of the match and deserved the convincing victory 3-0.

Claremont-11- Ethan Boag - hitting past OKM in the bronze match.

Claremont-11- Ethan Boag – hitting past OKM in the bronze match. (Vancouver Sports Pictures- John Hayduk)


Claremont’s Ethan Boag, a 2019 AAA first team all-star, comments on today’s match:

“I thought we improved a lot. Our passing started out shaky but got a lot better.”

 Boag also said about their over-all tournament play:

“Being from the island we don’t get as many great reps but when we came here it just upped our compete level.”

OKM veteran coach Paul Thiessen commented after his team’s loss on the match,

“We are a young team… I have 11 players that are in grade 10 or 11, and only 1 grade 12…. We are making the right steps, we are not there yet, but there is a lot of learning going on out there.”

See the fully interview in the link below:


 Quinn Pitcher of OKM passing a ball in the Bronze match. (Vancouver Sports Pictures)

Quinn Pitcher of OKM passing a ball in the Bronze match. (Vancouver Sports Pictures- John Hayduk)




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Earl Marriott sets sail for another AAA championship berth

Earl Marriott sets sail for another AAA championship berth

LANGLEY- by Derek Shuel

Earl Marriott sets sail for another AAA championship berth This AAA semi-final match up between #7 OKM Huskies and the highly decorated #1 Earl Marriott Mariners was not billed as one of the premiere games to take in. But as we all know, Provincial Championship Volleyball is anything but predictable!

Earl Marriott's Talon McMullin blocking while (1) Josh Quiring is ready to dig an OKM ball during semi final action.

Earl Marriott’s Talon McMullin blocking while (1) Josh Quiring is ready to dig an OKM ball during semi final action.

The first set saw the Huskies explode out of the gate and take an impressive 10-5 lead followed up by a 17-12 lead! For those who have followed Mariner volleyball over the last few years, no one would be surprised to see this team stay calm and composed and battle back to a 25-23 win.

The next set was a thriller to watch at the beginning with each team battling for each point. With a 7-7 and 10-10 start, it truly was any one’s game. This is where Marriott begins to shine as a team. As coach Dale Quiring quoted,

“We are dialed in, locked and loaded”.He continued with “We have maintained a positive attitude. We are family, we stick together”. But it goes further than that, “I love these guys” coach Quiring said.

As the head coach of this team at the Junior level, he led them to an astonishing 38-0 with no sets lost. Furthermore, Earl Marriott is also the reigning AAA boys Provincial Champions. This is just a continuation of this belief in themselves to overcome any obstacle at any level that comes into their path. The final set of the semi-final didn’t come easy as the OKM setter Kael Murphy was outstanding. He knew his teams’ back was against the wall and he used every piece that was available to him in this battle. And what a battle it was! With the score tied up at 24-24, the OKM fans urged the Huskies on! Unfortunately, Marriott’s calm demeanor and the ability to weather the storms when they came, were too great a factor in this match. The Mariners took the set 27-25 to advance once again to the championship match vs. Kelowna Secondary who prevailed in the other semi-final vs. Claremont.

Game time for the AAA boys Gold medal game is slated for 5:00 at the Langley Events Center.

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Strike brought extra stress for coaches with dual roles

Strike brought extra stress for coaches with dual roles

Story by Bob Carter

Paul Thiessen, the long-time senior boys’ volleyball coach and athletic director at Kelowna’s Okanagan Mission Secondary, spent the last day of September working at his school. Hardly work as usual, though, since he left after 2:30 a.m.. The impasse between British Columbia’s government and teachers, which delayed the start of school by three weeks, had much to do with that.

When the teachers’ strike ended on Sept. 18, Thiessen and other high school athletic directors knew their work load would explode when students returned full-time the next week. Especially those who serve both as coaches and athletic directors.

“It was like being shot out of a cannon,” Thiessen said.

Many forces suddenly were working against the ADs, who raced into overdrive. They immediately had to grow comfortable with BC School Sports’ new website and registration system. “It actually was easier than before,” said Delta coach and athletic director Shell Thompson. “But it took time to learn.”

When they opened their laptops, they often didn’t like what they saw: an avalanche of e-mails from coaches, ADs, school officials, parents and others, all hoping that fall sports schedules could be assembled in record time.Thompson said that leagues wanted to be playing games two weeks after classes began – “a really tight timeline.” Thiessen’s in-box had 285 e-mails one night, about 200 more than his normal amount. Thompson now typically turns off his iPad at 10 p.m., goes to bed and wakes up to 50 new e-mails. By the time he arrives at school, wham, 25 more, and by 3 o’clock another 50. “It’s a non-stop, e-mail nightmare,” Thompson said.

The squeezed time frame demanded not only longer days in September but quick decisions and strong organizing skills. Thiessen said he had 11 teams to mobilize, but only three head coaches in place at OKM, a school that had just undergone its third addition since 1992 and was now serving Grades 7-12. “The other coaches were hard to find,” he said.

Scoping out prospective coaches normally takes time, a commodity the athletic directors lacked this year.

“It’s a reality of the times, and we’re looking at 70 percent community coaches now,” Thompson said. “If you don’t talk about potential people for coaching, talk to people who might work out, it just won’t happen.”

Somewhere between all the e-mails, scheduling and pursuit of coaches, many athletic directors had to start coaching as well.

Thiessen, a 25-year coaching veteran who led OKM to fourth place in AA last year, had only eight players for his senior boys’ volleyball team as they prepared for their first matches Oct. 1.

“I didn’t work that much with my team at the beginning,” he said. “There was just so much to do. Instead of building a team like normal, we had to start condensing things and got into survival mode fast.”

Delta’s senior boys made the AAA BC’s last year with Thompson as head coach, but this fall he’s directing the Grade 8 boys and expects to assist the senior team with a pair of younger coaches whom he is mentoring.

The late start has him concerned about the players not having enough time to get into proper physical shape, and the lack of skill-building the first few weeks in practice.

“We focused on more simple skills and getting their attention, so they can function,” he said. “We couldn’t spend time on blocking or many offensive schemes. That may not come until the end of October.”

By mid-October, Thiessen thinks his work load may regain some normalcy, though Thompson sees the fast pace continuing.

“Volleyball won’t settle down until mid-November,” he said. “And as an AD you’ve got to have all the basketball stuff set and ready to go by then.”

However long the process takes, there will be little rest for the strike-tested souls doing double duty.

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Contact Bob Carter at

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