The Belmont Secondary senior girls volleyball team is back at it again.
In just over a month of action, the squad has put their skills to the test in four tournaments and several league games. The team graduated seven players after last season, five that have gone on to play post-secondary volleyball, and one playing basketball.
This season, head coach Mike Toakley said the team has four strong players returning who have exhibited great leadership so far.
“Last year our players were experienced and really tested,” Toakley said.
“This year, we have strong players and they are playing at this level for the first time,” he added, noting that libero Jasmyn Loo has given the Bulldogs a strong defensive presence.
Toakley said Oak Bay is very good this year, currently ranked No. 3 in the province, and although Belmont has been able to edge the Bays in all three contests so far this year, it’s been close every time.
The Bulldogs beat the Bays in the Camosun tournament (26-24, 25-19) where Belmont’s Jocelyn Sherman took home MVP honours and Gracie May and Taylee Pomponio were named to the all-star team.
At the Vancouver Island University tournament, the Bulldogs were in familiar form, sweeping the tournament and beating St. Thomas Aquinas in the finals.
The team travelled to the mainland for a tournament at the University of British Columbia, showcasing the best teams in the province from single-A to quad-A.
The quad-A Bulldogs played seven games and knocked off top 10 teams at UBC, including Crofton House, the No. 1 ranked team in AAAA, in the semifinals.
Toakley said Belmont had a disappointing loss in the final game to Little Flower Academy, the No. 1 ranked team in AAA.
In league play, Belmont played two matches Tuesday evening beating Claremont (25-14, 25-17) and Reynolds (25-20, 25-16).
Belmont won the B.C. Senior Girls High School Volleyball Championships the past two seasons, but Toakley said they can’t look past the competition on the Island to qualify for provincials.
“We’re not thinking about it [three-peat],” he laughed, adding that there are five teams that could easily take the crown this season.