Parker Stewart

Island volleyball championships put Royal Bay in the spotlight

Senior boys team hosts Island AA championships this weekend

The Royal Bay Ravens can book a spot in the 2015 provincial AA senior boys volleyball championships with a top three finish in the Island tournament at their school this weekend.

The Ravens look to be well in the hunt, after finishing third at the city championships last week with a 25-14, 25-20 win over Parklands.

Pacific Christian, who beat Royal Bay 25-16, 25-21 in the semifinals, downed Lambrick Park two straight in the final (25-20, 25-18) to take the South 1 spot in this weekend’s eight-team event.

The tight Greater Victoria results indicate the Islands are up for grabs, said Ravens coach Kris Johnson.

“At this point going in … the top four or five spots could be really up in the air. It’s a really tight field this year,” she said, adding that Woodlands from Nanaimo, and Courtenay’s Mark Isfeld, the North Island winner, present tough opposition. “Anybody could take it.”

Royal Bay, with a largely experienced lineup, opens the tournament at noon today (Nov. 20) against Isfeld. The others in the A pool are Lambrick and Highlands from Comox. Pool B includes PCS, Parklands, Woodlands and Timberline from Campbell River.

The pool winners receive a bye into Saturday’s semifinals, which both go at 12:45 p.m. The tournament winds up with the third-place match at 2:45 and the gold medal match at 4:45 p.m.

Johnson said the best case scenario for her team will be winning their pool. She knows that won’t be easy, but said her players are feeling confident and ready to give it their all.

“This is what they’re striving for, to lay it all out there and try for a berth (into the B.C.s) … Everyone’s going to have to step it up. As long as they’re in the right mind frame, they’re incredible.”

Johnson said it’s better in a tournament such as this to jump in with both feet and tackle high-level competition right away. “It doesn’t do you any good to start against lower-ranked teams,” she added.

Not only are the Ravens anxious to take the next step in their inaugural playoff run, they’re excited to have the opportunity to show off their new gym and school, Johnson said.

The Ravens other matches are at 3 and 6 p.m., with the final matches Friday getting underway at 7:30 p.m. The playoffs get underway at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The provincial AA and AAA championships run Dec. 2 to 5 at the Langley Events Centre.

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