Smithers Secondary School’s phys ed teachers and volleyball coaches must be doing something right, after the senior boys, senior girls and junior girls volleyball teams all won their respective zone championships two weekends ago.
The senior boys Gryphons faced the Prince Rupert Secondary School Rainmakers in the Northwest Zone Championship, with coaching from Martin Halvorson and Neal Currie. The Grypons came from behind to win the first set of the best of five, 26-24. Smithers then lost the next two sets, leaving Prince Rupert with the chance to win in four sets.
In the fourth, amazing defensive play won Smithers a victory, and late in the set, the offence started to really click. The Gryphons carried their momentum, hitting 10 points before the Rainmakers scored their first. Smithers won the match, earning a spot at the Senior Boys AA Provincial Championships, which will be held in Kelowna from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.
The senior girls faced less of a challenge in their Northwest Zone Championship, facing Mount Elizabeth Secondary School from Kitimat in the gold medal match.
The Gryphons, with coaching from Brittany Brook, Caitlin Sikkes and Jaci O’Neill, beat the Kitimat team in three straight sets, 25-15, 25-18 and 25-18. The MVP was Katelynn Harness. The Smithers girls will be at the Senior Girls AA Provincial Championships in Vancouver from Dec. 1 to 3.
Smithers Secondary’s junior girls team played in the Northwest Zone Championships, and finished the tournament without losing a single set. Coaches Michelle Golder and Kelly Ehalt led the team through a season that only included one loss, to Skeena Junior Secondary School. At the Zones, the girls ended with a 25-20 and 25-19 victory over Skeena to bring home the banner.
The team of 12 girls was whittled down from 50 that tried out at the beginning of the season, said Ehalt. Setter Danielle Irvine earned a spot on the All-Star team, and middle Morgan Monkman was awarded as the tournament MVP. The girls also earned a last-minute invitation to an unofficial Provincial invitational tournament in Richmond, earning the girls some wider competitive experience against teams from the lower mainland.
“It’s the first time we’ve been able to take our team to the Provincial tournament, which is great,” said Ehalt.