Thanks to a sweep in the city ‘A’ junior girls volleyball tournament, it’s on to the next stage of the playoffs for Belmont Blue.
The Langford-based side, joined by city tournament runner-up Claremont, heads into this weekend’s eight-team Island championships in Mill Bay as one of the favourites.
“We planned this last phase of our season as a four-parter,” said Belmont coach Ken Lowe.
“First we wanted to see some of the mainland teams in South Delta, then this weekend was city’s, and hopefully you can cross Islands off our list and then it’s provincials.”
Coming off a significant tournament win the previous weekend in North Delta – one of the sites of the upcoming provincial championships – Belmont Blue rolled through the city competition.
They wound up an undefeated tournament at Oak Bay High by sweeping Claremont two games to none in Saturday’s final, after knocking off Oak Bay in the semifinals. Claremont beat Pacific Christian 2-0 in the other semi while, Oak Bay downed PCS 2-1 for third place.
While the experience and size of the Belmont players won out in the end, Lowe said Claremont showed well in the final.
“They played good, organized team volleyball and that’s something we didn’t see from them last time, when they had some players missing,” he said.
The two sides join three teams each from the North and the mid-Island at the Island tournament, being hosted by mid-Island playoff winner Brentwood College.
Among the six non-Victoria area teams, Belmont has played Carihi and Timberline from Campbell River this season.
“Carihi played us very tough at the VIU tournament,” Lowe said, “and Timberline has a good team as well.”
Timberline, Brentwood and Gulf Islands secondary join Belmont in one of two round robin pools.
The draw sees pool winners advance to the semifinals, with the final happening Saturday afternoon.The top six teams qualify for the expanded provincials draw. The B.C. tournament has jumped from 24 teams to 32.
Belmont gained some potential advance knowledge for provincials at the South Delta tournament. They beat Langley Christian 25-10, 25-17 in the final, after dispatching Delta’s Seaquam two straight in the semis and Vancouver’s McGee in the quarters. Belmont went 3-0 in pool play.