Devils capture Sea to Sky volleyball title 

Senior girls' squad in the mix for provincial championship berth

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIC MACKENZIE - Into play Luke Unruh serves for one of Whistler's Grade 8 boys' teams during Nov. 7 league finals.
  • Photo by Eric MacKenzie
  • Into play Luke Unruh serves for one of Whistler's Grade 8 boys' teams during Nov. 7 league finals.

The volleyball season is starting to wind down but players on the Pemberton Secondary School Red Devils senior girls' team are hoping that there are plenty more games in their future.

The Red Devils captured the Sea to Sky league title in a four-set victory over the Whistler Storm on Thursday, Nov. 7. Whistler took the first set to jump out to an early lead but the Devils rebounded to take the next three and secure the win (21-25, 25-11, 25-17, 25-22).

"They came back pretty strong," Pemberton head coach David Dunkin said of how his team bounced back after dropping the first set. "25-11 is a big game and that sort of levelled the playing field after that."

The next goal for Pemberton is to qualify for the B.C. 'A' provincial championships that will be held in Duncan at the end of the month.

The Devils were scheduled to play in the Lower Mainland zone championships at St. John's School in Vancouver on Wednesday, Nov. 13 but results were not available at press time. Pemberton was up against eight other teams vying for two automatic entries into provincials. Wednesday's third-place finisher was slated to go into a wildcard mini-tournament to determine another berth to the B.C championships.

"I think that we have the tools to (qualify)," said Dunkin. "It will probably just be a matter of us playing at the top of our game and limiting mistakes. At times, we've done that this year, but at other times we've struggled being focused early, sort of like in that (league) final."

Dunkin added that it's been a successful season for his team regardless of what was to take place at Wednesday's zone tournament.

"They're a fun group to work with. They're super enthusiastic; they work hard all the time," he said.

Meanwhile, the Storm headed to their zone playdowns in Vancouver on Nov. 12. Whistler, a 'AA' school this year, was ousted from the event by Sechelt's Chatelech Secondary, which picked up a two-set victory (25-14, 25-16) to eliminate the Storm.

Coach Sue Eckersley said she was very happy with the team's effort in the loss.

"The girls just bumped into a better team," she said.

Although the loss marked the end of the high school season for Whistler, Eckersley said thought is being given to establishing a club team that would keep competing through the winter, noting that the squad's play was "far superior" compared to last season.

"They've improved so much," said Eckersley.

Younger high school leagues wrap up

Sea to Sky leagues all concluded play over the past week with Whistler and Pemberton teams putting the cap on some strong seasons.

The Storm Grade 10 girls' team jumped out to a 1-0 lead over Howe Sound in its final but wound up falling in three sets to the Squamish squad.

The Grade 9 girls' title ended up going to Pemberton. The Devils had defeated Whistler in the semifinals to reach the title game.

Whistler Secondary hosted the Grade 8 league finals on Thursday, Nov. 10. In girls' play the Whistler Blue team knocked off Pemberton in two sets in order to take the title. Pemberton had advanced to the final by beating out Whistler White, previously undefeated on the season, in a thrilling three-set semifinal.

In boys' action last week, both Whistler squads advanced to the final, making it a one-two finish for Storm squads.


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