With the fall term athletic season winding to a close, the Senior girls volleyball team hosted the Island AAA championships late last week.
Though three of the eight teams would advance to the provincial tournament, SMUS still faced long odds to qualify, as five of the AAA Top 10 squads were taking part.
In their opening match and in front of a large crowd, the Blue Jags failed to get on track against Carihi, with serving and serve receive errors contributing to a 2-0 loss.
However, after losing the second set, SMUS bounced back with a much-improved effort to take out Vic High 2-1. Taylor Noel scored numerous points with some powerful hitting, while Semele Smith contributed solid back court play.
Solid performances by Sara Cui and Lindsay Gage allowed the Blue Jags to then compete well with powerful Timberline, but, in the end, the Wolves advanced through better serve receive and a quick, middle attack. This result left SMUS third in pool play.
The following day, SMUS needed a win to stay alive in the race to provincials. A fast start staked the Jags to an early lead versus Nanaimo District Secondary, but the Islanders eventually closed out the set 25-22. The teams then traded points back and forth in the second set before the visitors advanced.
In the final match of the season, again versus Carihi, SMUS again lost 2-0, but not before a terrific closing effort. Zoe Lott provided some key blocks, while Gage and Jessa McElderry paced the attack. Maggie Helmke set consistently throughout, particularly during the second set which ended up a heartbreaking 32-30 defeat.
While the sixth-place finish may have been slightly disappointing, overall the team did well, finished 4th out of 19 schools in the City, gaining the South No. 1 AAA seed and proving competitive at a number of tournaments this season.
Congratulations to graduating players McElderry, Smith, Jayne Leggatt, Gwyn Kinar and Jordan Egles. Next season looks promising, with a solid group of Grade 11s scheduled to return.
While the Senior boys’ B.C. AA championship run took centre stage, SMUS also qualified for the prestigious Colonist Cup after defeating GNS 3-0 in the semi-final. The title game, set for Tuesday, Nov. 29 at UVic’s Centennial Stadium, will see the Blue Jags tangle with AAA top-seeded Reynolds.
Finally, we’re gearing up to host the Alumni Basketball Celebration, starting with the U11s at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 26). The Senior girls and Senior boys teams match wits with the Alumni teams at 2:30 and 4:30 pm, respectively.