The Ecole Mark R Isfeld Ice junior boys volleyball team showcased a never-say-die attitude to finish 11th out of the 24-team provincial championships in Kamloops over the weekend.
They were also the top of four Island teams at the tournament.
The Ice were fueled by a consistent performance from their co-captain Torr Robertson, who ran the offence as their starting setter throughout the weekend and showed leadership and great skills doing so.
The Ice finished second in their pool with a 2-1 record, setting them up in the championships playoff tier on Friday. In their first playoff game, they got an unlucky first draw and had to play against Surrey’s Elgin Park, one of the top teams in BC, who would eventually go on and win the gold medal. The boys came out strong and played with Elgin point for point but the eventual champs prevailed, 25-18, 25-17.
This moved the Ice into the mid-tier bracket, where there met a very strong Vancouver team from St. Patrick Secondary. The boys once again showed up ready to play and won in a thrilling THREE-set match, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13.
With this win, the Comox Valley’s only team at provincials moved up to play against J.N. Burnett first thing Saturday morning. The team has been known to not be their best when playing early morning games and did come out slow in this game losing the match 14-25, 19-24. They started to slowly limit their errors and claw back with a much better second set but with a very good team from Richmond, it was too much of a gap to close this time.
The stage was now set for the team’s final match of the Provincials championships and their season, against the Vancouver Island Champions, Spectrum Secondary from Victoria. Spectrum beat Isfeld in the semi-finals at Islands to knock them into the bronze medal match back on early November.
Spectrum won the first set, 25-18, setting up a crucial second set.
The team once again played point for point with some strong offensive kills from Keifer Stushnoff and Shervin Singh and compete wall blocks by Jonah Kanary and Shay Devine against their powerful 6’4” middle hitters. With Isfeld now taking the lead 24-23 in the second set, the team’s most inspirational player of this game, Joey Collins (who came off the bench in this set) took to the serving line to even up the match… and served up an ace for the 25-23 win.
Isfeld was now down to their last set of the season and the coach’s message to the team was to relax, play their game and finish their championship and season with a win. The message hit home, and the Ice won 15-10, with a monster block at the middle by Shay Devine to seal the victory.
One of the team’s starting middles, Carson East (6’6”) was missing from playing in this championship due to the fact he played with the Isfeld senior team in its playoffs and BC School Sports has a rule in place that once a player plays with a senior team in a playoff game they are not eligible to return to their own junior team. East did travel with the team to support them and assist with line judging when needed. He also had a great opportunity to meet the head coach, Pat Hennelly, of the Thompson River University WolfPack Volleyball team to ask questions and gather information about their university volleyball and academic programs.
The gold medal went to Elgin Park Secondary, the silver to Langley Christian School and bronze to Surrey Christian School.