By Bob Carter
Walnut Grove’s Gators wouldn’t let a winless Wednesday or a slow start on Thursday keep them from their business at hand.
The fifth-seeded Gators overcame a first-set loss to rival Delta and advanced to the boys AAA quarterfinals with a four-set victory (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17).
Walnut Grove had lost a tough match to Semiahmoo in the Fraser Valley final and was wanting to make a strong showing at the BC’s.
“We were really looking forward to it,” said 6-5 Brett Christensen. “Losing that match put a chip on our shoulders. It gave us an extra edge.”
The Pacers, who had a disappointing sixth-place finish at the FV playoffs, jumped on Walnut Grove early.
“They came with a ton of energy,” said Gators coach Gary Lutes, “like they always do. But we didn’t get down, we still had the confidence that we can play better and be the better team.”
Said 6-8 Andrew Goertzen: “We knew then we had to do our jobs, do what we do best.”
Part of that was slowing Delta’s Keaton Mann, whose hitting was leading the Pacers.
“He was hitting angles,” Christensen said, “so we had to shift everybody over, and we had to come up with some digs, which happened.”
Christensen powered a big fourth set with four early kills, and the Gators jumped ahead 13-6 on the way to winning 25-17.
No. 1 Kelowna rolls: The triple-A Owls continued their efficient play by beating Fraser Heights in three straight sets.
“Our passing was good, and our blocking was better in sets 2 and 3,” KSS coach Mike Sodaro said. “We had to make some adjustments with that.”
Front-row stalwarts Justin Peleshytyk and Spencer Doody performed well, Sodaro said, and 6-1 Connor White “played a great game.”
The Owls will play in the quarterfinals Friday morning against Reynolds, a 3-1 winner over Moscrop.
Quick hits: Most of the top seeds won easily as the championship draw began Thursday.
Dover Bay, No. 4 in AAA, beat Centennial 25-12, 25-11, 25-21.
Semiahmoo, No. 2, defeated Mount Baker in four, and No. 6 Seaquam beat Oak Bay in four. Earl Marriott. The 10th seed, also knocked off No. 7 Mount Boucherie in four.
In AA, top-seeded Pacific Academy swept past Smithers in three sets, and the next seeds — Langley Christian, MEI, College Heights, Fundamental, Duchess Park and George Elliot — also won three straight.