The Yorkson Creek Wolves run to the championship was nearly over on day one.
Down two sets to none in the quarter-finals of the Langley District Grade 8 girls volleyball championships, the Wolves trailed the Walnut Grove Gators.
The Wolves were seeded third after a 6-2 regular season but were in tough against the sixth-seed Gators.
“Their worst game was the first game of the playoffs when they were extremely nervous,” admitted Yorkson Creek’s Stephane Gingras, who coaches the team alongside Ben Dineen.
Needing to win the third set just to stay alive, the coaches’ message was simple.
“Just calm down and get back to the basics,” Gingras recalled.
The Wolves strung a few points together and gained confidence.
“They started to believe in themselves,” Dineen said.
They won that set and the next two to advance to the semifinals, and haven’t looked back since, capping things off with a 3-0 (25-21,25-23,25-16) win over the Langley Christian Lightning on Wednesday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.
The victory marks the first district volleyball title in Yorkson Creek’s short history.
Langley Christian had won the previous five Grade 8 girls district titles.
“(The girls) just believed when they went on the court that they would win,” Dineen said.
“To take that title is pretty huge.”
Gingras coached the team last year as well, so he knew they had the talent to compete.
And in the district final, the Wolves were all over the court, no matter where Langley Christian would hit the ball.
“They are relentless, that is the word to describe to them,” Gingras said.
In addition to defeating the top-seed Lightning, Yorkson Creek also beat the No. 2 Langley Fundamental Titans in the semifinals in straight sets on Monday.
Both Yorkson Creek and Langley Christian advance to the Fraser Valley championships next week.
They are being hosted by Surrey’s Pacific Academy.
In the bronze-medal game on Wednesday afternoon, the Titans defeated the Credo Christian Kodiaks 3-0 (25-17,25-14,25-22).