The banner may say basketball but the Langley Christian Lightning actually captured the Grade 9 Fraser Valley volleyball title last week.

Lightning strike podium at Fraser Valleys

Gold, silver and bronze for Langley Christian volleyball teams at Fraser Valley championships

Langley Christian volleyball teams won a medal of each colour at last week’s Fraser Valley championships.

The Grade 9 girls team led the way, capturing the gold medal in their tournament while the Grade 8 girls won silver and the junior boys came through with the bronze medal, at their respective championship tournaments.

Two other Lightning teams made the final eight at their Fraser Valley tournaments with the Grade 8 boys placing fifth and the junior girls sixth.

And Langley Fundamental’s junior boys also came fifth in their tournament.

For the Lightning Grade 9 squad, coach Moe Fricke said the team entered the season with no expectations.

“The goal at the start was just to develop these girls and give them a chance to play some volleyball and see how we did,” she said. “And lo and behold, we were holding our own versus these teams which also had a ton of Grade 10s on their team.”

At the Fraser Valley championships, which ran Nov. 7 to 9 at Earl Marriott Secondary, Langley Christian had just eight players — the team had some Grade 10s during the regular season, but they could not play at the Valleys.

“We were down to just two people but we still managed to be mentally and physically tough,” Fricke said.

“(The team) just did awesome. It was amazing, more than we could have hoped for.”

In the finals, Langley Christian defeated Seaquam two sets to none.

In the playoff round, the Lightning beat Holy Cross in the quarter-finals and Riverside in the semifinal round.

Olivia Lounsbury was named most valuable player while Kate Vander Zalm and Anna Colyn each earned all-star awards.

The Langley Christian Grade 8 girls team seemed spent after a big semifinal victory over one of their traditional rivals, the MEI Eagles.

“For some reason, they just started off on the wrong foot and it was tough to get back into it,” said Lightning coach Mary Joan Visscher.

“They were just spent.”

Langley Christian defeated WA Fraser in the quarter-finals.

Fraser had eliminated Credo Christian in the previous round.

The Lightning then knocked off MEI in the semifinals before falling to Semiahmoo in the championship game.

The tournament was Nov. 7 to 9 at Semiahmoo Secondary.

“They put everything out on the floor,” the coach said. “They were just spent.”

“Whether you get an achievement or not, it doesn’t define who are you. It is really how you walk away from it which really strengthens your character,” Visscher said about the coaches’ message to the team.

Ember Hamilton and Camryn Visscher earned all-stars for Langley Christian.

Heading into the Fraser Valley tournament, Langley Christian junior boys coach Eric Van Huizen knew what had to happen for his team to win gold.

“I believed that we needed everything to go right for our team to win (Fraser Valleys) and we made a couple of mistakes, a little inconsistent in the semifinal,” he said.

The championships were held Nov. 7 to 10 at Abbotsford’s MEI Secondary.

The Lightning lost to the host Eagles in the semifinals, winning the first set but losing the next two.

“It was a very emotional semifinal game against MEI, it was tough,” Van Huizen said.

Langley Christian faced Earl Marriott in the bronze medal game and the coach wasn’t sure how his team would respond after a tough loss. But his team prevailed in a close match to finish third at the championships.

They will now prepare for the BC provincial championships next week (Nov. 23 to 25) in Kelowna.

Caleb Kastelein earned all-star honours for Langley Christian.

 

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