Three Comox Valley volleyball players on Team BC won silver medals at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Toronto.
Playing in the starting lineup for the U16 squad were Valley residents Sierra Murphy (right side hitter), Cameron Christison (power hitter) and Ava Langevin (middle blocker). Five of the 12 members of Team BC were from the Island. The three locals who played for the Comox Valley Strikers during club season were joined by Campbell River players Kyla Lucas-Johnson and Emoni Bush, who play for the Campbell River Crush club. During club season, the Strikers and Crush are rivals, but for these games the players banded together as teammates.
Team BC girls dominated play on the first two days at the Games, beating teams from New York, Nunavut, Ontario, and Eastern Door and the North, earning a spot in the top tier. Team BC then faced Team Saskatchewan, former NAIG champions, for a place in the medal round. Team BC came out strong and won 25-7 and 25-19.
The B.C. girls then faced Team Nunavut for a third time in the tournament. They easily won in two sets to reach the finals against Team Alberta. The B.C. girls played well, and fought hard taking the final game to five sets, but came up shy in the last set, placing the squad second overall at the Games.
Team BC had played together just two weekends before leaving for Toronto. It was up to the individual players to keep up with practice regimens and workouts for the months leading up to the Games. Many of the teams they faced had practised together on a regular basis. One team had practised over two years together.
“The fact that they (Team BC) medaled at the Games with limited court time together just shows how determined and skilled these young ladies are,” said a fan who had traveled from B.C. to watch the Games.
The girls from the Island will return to play with their high school teams in the fall, and continue to play into club volleyball season.