The Oak Bay Barbers left the B.C. senior boys AAA volleyball championships the same way they came in, as the fourth-ranked team in the province.
West Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Bears avenged an earlier loss to sweep the Barbers 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 to claim the bronze at the AAA boys championships in Langley.
“It was clear that these two well-matched teams could beat each other on any given day,” said Oak Bay coach Al Carmichael, adding his team “had some good success attacking Mt. Boucherie on the outside, but were not able to find their connection in middle attack on Saturday.”
The Barbers fell 3-1 to the eventual champion Earl Marriott Mariners in the semifinals. The Surrey squad jumped out to a quick two-set lead 25-20, 25-14.
“A determined serving strategy of aggressive, riskier serves paid off in the third set, which limited Earl Marriott’s attack options, and generated more blocks and digs,” said Carmichael.
Oak Bay won the third set 25-18. The seesaw fourth set saw the Barbers on top 22-20 before a Marriott block and transition attack put them ahead 23-22. Madhu McConnell scored a huge side-out kill for Oak Bay, however, a missed serve followed by a blocked attack gave the Mariners the win in the deciding set.
“While on the surface, the missed serve may have seemed critical, it was the high-risk, aggressive serving that gave Oak Bay the opportunity in the first place,” said Carmichael. “Playing a more mature, taller, stronger team, Oak Bay needed to play an aggressive style, and was almost rewarded.”
Oak Bay used their strategy of more aggressive serves to rally from a 2-0 deficit and edge Vancouver’s Gladstone Gladiators 3-2 in the quarter-finals.
“As well, setter Kyle Bourdon and middle hitter Nick Mickleberry started to connect on their timing, and earned many points over top of the smaller Gladstone blockers. Off the bench, Evan Reynolds was effective hitting on the outside,” said Carmichael, adding McConnell returned to the floor with renewed energy.
He credits the tough serving, led by Cole Beevor-Potts and Alan Lau, along with good defence and a strong transition attack for the deciding win.
Oak Bay opened the round-robin with losses to Earl Marriott and the Kelowna Owls and a 2-1 win over Mt. Boucherie. The Barbers easily downed Surrey’s Seaquam 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.
Grade 12 Bourdon made the first all-star team, Grade 12 libero Johnny Fitterer made the second all-star team, and Grade 11 power hitter McConnell was named to the third all-star team.
The Oak Bay Breakers struggled at the AAAA senior girls volleyball provincials, finishing in 12th spot in the tournament at Cranbrook’s Mt. Baker secondary school.
The Breakers opened the tournament with losses to Lord Tweedsmuir (25-12, 25-14) and Handsworth (25-22, 25-11) and a win over host Mt. Baker (29-27, 25-18). A 3-1 loss to Earl Marriott (25-19, 25-17, 23-25, 25-10) dropped the Breakers to the relegation side. Oak Bay stopped North Surrey (15-12, 25-18) before falling to Terry Fox (25-23, 25-19). The Breakers wrapped up the tournament with a 25-23, 25-23 loss to Mt. Boucherie.