For a group of girls who played in the B division of the city’s junior girls volleyball league last year and took their lumps against top outside club-trained teams, Belmont’s Grade 9-10 squad is showing mercurial growth.
The team posted two of the biggest upsets of its season last weekend in Campbell River, knocking off No.1-rated Reynolds 25-23, 29-27 in Saturday’s Island championship final, following a 25-23, 31-29 thriller over top North Island team Dover Bay in the morning semifinals. Belmont heads to the 30-team B.C. championships this Friday and Saturday in Delta.
The team’s performance of late, which has included a number of tournament runner-up finishes – they lost to Reynolds in the city final at Belmont on Nov. 9 – even has normally stoic head coach Ken Lowe impressed.
“I think they’ve been a good volleyball team, but this weekend they showed they are a great volleyball team,” he said.
The biggest difference is in the consistency the team is showing, he added, and the way they are cutting down on the little mistakes that are often the downfall of junior teams.
“We’ve been trying to preach that all year,” he said. “The hits don’t have to great, as long as they’re consistent and putting pressure on the other teams and forcing them to make plays. (If we do that), we’ll be able to get points.”
Belmont found itself down 20-15 in the second game of both matches on Saturday, but put together some timely runs and forced their opponents onto their heels.
The play of middle blocker Jocelyn Sherman was largely unsolvable for Belmont opponents over the weekend. Setter Jordyn Waller, and up and coming power hitters Kylie Kennedy and Jasmine Loo were also factors in the wins, Lowe said.
“The defence that we displayed in the semifinal, we were digging up balls that we haven’t done before. We were just doing the right things. It was almost like a complete game, that they did everything that was scripted for them.”
There is no pre-seeding for the provincial tournament, but organizers traditionally set up the draw based on past results, Lowe said. Belmont won the tournament last year, with most of those players moving on to the Bulldogs senior team this season.