It was business as usual Tuesday at Belmont secondary for the Bulldogs senior girls volleyball team.
Having captured the regular season A pool league title recently, the current number 1-ranked AAAA team in B.C. hosted the annual Vic Lindal Cup quarters and semifinals.
The Bulldogs downed an overmatched St. Michaels University School side 25-9, 25-13 in one of the evening’s final matches to advance to next Tuesday’s (Nov. 1) final at Oak Bay against the host Breakers.
While the Bulldogs had a relatively easy time of it in their match, their top rivals in AAAA come city playoff time, Oak Bay and Mount Doug, showed just how closely matched these teams are.
The Breakers needed a tiebreaker set to get past Mount Doug 2-1. Oak Bay won the first game 25-19, lost the second 25-17 then played a see-saw third set before squeaking out a 15-12 victory.
Next Tuesday’s best-of-five sets final gets underway at 7 p.m. That feature match follows consolation matches.
The Lindal Cup competition is the top level of the combined city playoffs and gives the top six senior girls teams in Greater Victoria a chance to compete against similar calibre sides, before the teams are slotted into their respective divisions for B.C. high school playdowns. Those begin with the Lower Island AAAA and AAA playoffs the second week of November at Oak Bay and Vic High, respectively.
For the Bulldogs, doing well in the Lindal Cup is nice, said head coach Mike Toakley, but it’s really just a preliminary competition on the road to the provincial championships.
“You always want to play well; if nothing else their pride should be such that they don’t take matches off, so I’m hoping they can crank it up for next week’s final,” he said.
Toakley, who normally gives glowing reviews of his young team – there’s no Grade 12 players on the roster, most are Grade 11s and there’s a few Grade 10s – wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance Tuesday.
“They weren’t particularly interested today. The scores don’t reflect that, but they were making all kinds of unforced errors,” he said.
“Against a strong attacking team like (Oak Bay and Mount Doug), they’ll have to be a lot sharper. Mind you, they’ll be a lot more mentally prepared because these guys are the crosstown rivals (in AAAA) … our path to the provincial championships goes through these two teams. Any chance we get to keep on top of them is important.”
This week’s provincial rankings saw Mount Doug rated fourth while Oak Bay dropped from the top 10 list, largely because they didn’t play a tournament last weekend.
Meanwhile, Royal Bay will host the senior girls consolation city final next Tuesday. That draw featured play between the third- through ninth-place teams in the B pool during the regular season.