Fall sports came to a conclusion, with the Senior boys volleyball team making its first ever appearance at the BC AA championships.
SMUS came out firing on Day 1, dropping Smithers in straight sets before then also defeating Windermere and city rival Pacific Christian School. These three victories saw the Blue Jags top their power pool and so gain a 12th seed in the tournament round of sixteen.
In the opening championship bracket game, SMUS battled on even terms with Mennonite Educational Institute, the most decorated team in provincial tournament history, before a badly sprained ankle sent Ty Olynyk to hospital for x-rays. Minus its top power hitter, the Blue Jags’ offence dried up as the Eagles advanced to the quarterfinals.
With the loss, the team moved to the consolation side of the draw, though still in with a chance for a 9th place overall finish. In an exciting game, and after many close calls in past seasons, SMUS finally secured a victory over Island No. 1 seed Lambrick Park (25-15 and 25-23). Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of setter Tristan Kuhn, a narrow defeat to Prince Charles then confirmed an 11th place overall finish.
While the Senior boys waited on the return of the volleyball players to officially start their season, the Senior girls hosted the ISA tournament. At the quarterfinal level, SMUS took out York House 56-25, with all 12 players seeing plenty of court time. Mulgrave proved a tougher nut to crack in the semi-final, but, thanks in part to 24 points from Zoe Lott, the Blue Jags triumphed 74-56.
This set up a rematch of last year’s final, with SMUS matched up with Southridge. In a very even game, the Storm won just enough of the key stats to emerge victorious 57-51. Meredith Selwood and Kenzi Farish performed strongly.
The Junior boys A team, undermanned also due to call-ups by the BC bound Senior volleyballers, nonetheless played four games, starting with an exhibition loss to Belmont.
Then, in the Victoria Invitational Tournament, SMUS struggled with the relentless pressure of the Guildford Park press in a 10-point loss. Rebounding to beat G.P. Vanier, the Blue Jags then failed to guard against Lambrick Park, conceding early and often in a 74-56 defeat. Nonetheless, given a return to a full roster and with increased experience, the outlook for a very positive season remains. In Tadeo Allerding, Allistair Catto and Ethan Brownsey, there is good size, while Izzy Helman, Rick Xie and Eddie Kim are a trio of skillful guards.
At Junior development level, SMUS had a very busy opening week, playing five games in total. In the first, in the traditional home opener against Belmont, only erratic foul shooting cost the team a win, as the Bulldogs prevailed by two points. Then, at the Oak Bay Tournament, the Blue Jags gained a measure of revenge with a victory over Belmont, but dropped games to Glenlyon Norfolk School, St. George’s and Oak Bay. Tion McLeish, Dave Duru, Jonathan Nguyen and Leo Li led the scoring, while Humraj Aujla rebounded strongly.
The team displayed a very pleasing work ethic, with all players set to benefit significantly from upcoming league and exhibition game opportunities.