Belmont hosting Island’s top girls volleyball squads in Langford

Bulldogs the underdogs this weekend in tough competition

Belmont secondary is showing off its sparkling new gym this weekend, as it plays host to the Vancouver Island senior girls AAAA volleyball championships.

The Bulldogs hope to play more than just gracious hosts, with berths in the provincial championships on the line. They’ll be in tough, however, as three Island teams competing here are ranked among the top 10 in the province.

Mount Douglas, which has battled Oak Bay for top spot in league and playoff play this season, overtook the Breakers in the B.C. top 10 rankings last week. Dover Bay, which will host the provincials Dec. 3 to 5 in Nanaimo, has also come on strong this year and enters as a tournament favourite.

“We don’t normally have that many teams ranked from the Island,” said Belmont coach Mike Toakley. “It’s going to make for a good tournament.”

His Bulldogs wound up third in the Islands seeding tournament among Greater Victoria teams last week. The most direct route to provincials is to win Islands: two automatic berths are available, one for Dover Bay, the other for the highest finisher otherwise.

“Beating Dover Bay is not as important as beating Mount Doug or Oak Bay,” Toakley said. “We’ve taken a game off Oak Bay this season; we’ve been awfully close in matches against Mount Doug. Hopefully being the home school might be the edge that we need to get us over the hump.”

The two next highest finishers in the Island tournament qualify for an eight-team round robin wild card tournament in Kelowna on Nov. 28.

The top two teams qualify for Nanaimo.

The Island tournament gets underway with pool play at 1 p.m. on Friday, with Belmont’s first match set for 2:10 p.m. The championship round is set for Saturday with the gold and bronze medal matches scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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