Langley Christian falls short in final

Langley Christian Lightning
Langley Christian Lightning's Mitchell Jarvie keeps his eye on the ball as he gets ready to send his shot across the net against the MEI Eagles. Below: Langley Christian's Eli Tolkamp sets the ball to ready his team's offence.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

The Langley Christian Lightning can only hope for one more crack at the MEI Eagles, preferably in the provincial championship game.

The two Fraser Valley rivals have played a back-and-forth season series all year long and the most recent chapter in the rivalry went in favour of the Abbotsford school as MEI won 3-1 last week (Nov. 14).

The two senior boys’ volleyball teams were playing for the gold medal in the AA Fraser Valley championship game at the Langley Events Centre.

And after each team won a set — 25-21 MEI and 25-20 for Langley Christian — the Eagles took sets three and four 25-12 and 25-18.

The Lightning had been the top seed for the Valley championships after taking first place in the division thanks to the teams’ most recent meeting, a 3-0 Langley Christian victory to wrap up the regular season.

“It has been a good battle all season,” said Langley Christian coach Jesse Zuidhof.

“We just didn’t put together our best performance (in the Valley final). We had a mediocre performance, one that will motivate us to puck up that level going into provincials.”

The Lightning, as well as the third-place Langley Fundamental Titans, will both join MEI at the AA provincial volleyball championships at Kelowna’s UBC Okanagan campus. The championships run Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

“That was a wake-up call for us that we have to raise our level to the potential we have,” Zuidhof said.

The Lightning have been ranked in the top three provincially all season, along with MEI and Prince George’s Duchess Park.

Zuidhof likes his team’s chances, if they play up to their capabilities.

He described the team as prideful of their defence and ball control.

“We are very well balanced and deep,” he said of his roster, which features six Grade 11s and six Grade 12s.

“We have a lot of weapons; we don’t need to rely on one guy. Everyone on the court has the potential to finish points for us.”

Jeremy Hansma, Eli Tolkamp and Mike Gyrpma earned all-stars at the Fraser Valley tournament.

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