With November filled with tournaments and championships, numerous SMUS teams were in action, either performing at or looking to qualify for provincials.
Senior Girls Field Hockey competed at the University of Victoria in its provincial AA event. After convincing wins versus Maple Ridge and South Kamloops, the team dropped its final pool game to York House. Then, in a fast-paced, hotly contested quarterfinal versus second seed Shawnigan Lake School, the Blue Jags fell 3-1 despite an excellent goal from Julia McDermott.
McDermott, in addition to Allegra Nelson, then found the net against a talented J.L. Crowe side from the Kootenays. A last game, versus Crofton House, resulted in a loss and a sixth place overall finish. It must be noted that a very young Blue Jags squad, with half the roster still only in Grade 9, played very well and can look ahead to 2020 and beyond with great optimism.
Our Rowing team completed its nine week fall season, with the usual sunshine, rain and wind prevalent at Elk Lake in the City Championships. The girls squad rowed especially well, with three silver-medal and two bronze-medal finishes. Kelly Jiang, Kate O’Connor, Caoimhe McElroy, Emily Selwood, Isabel Cormie, Kerry Yao, Emma Curry, Firinne Rolfe, Sydney Sugar, Linden Girardeaux, Lisa Du Plessis, Susan Gao, Bella Knezevic, Ellie LeBlanc, Kate LeRoy, Lily Langtry, Meg Sheehan and Ariel Khoo comprised the various 4x and 8+ crews which reached the podium.
On the boys side, Markus Muller, while fifth overall in the 1x, recorded the fastest Junior time.
It was also a busy window for Senior Boys Soccer. With Callum Colgate and Efosa Imasekha constant threats up front, SMUS opened the Island AA competition with 2-0 and 3-0 results versus Brooks of Powell River and Lambrick Park. These victories moved SMUS into the tournament final, with a subsequent 2-2 draw versus Gulf Islands not affecting pool standings. Unfortunately, conceding goals from winning positions proved to be the theme of the day, as, in the championship match, the Blue Jags could not maintain three different one goal leads over Carihi. Extra time then could not break the 3-3 stalemate, with the game going to a dreaded penalty shootout. Credit to the Tyees, who were perfect six from six from the spot to finally claim the cup.
Nonetheless, as Island No. 2 finisher, SMUS moves on to the BC AA tournament in Burnaby November 18-20. Topping the pool versus South Kamloops, College Heights and Notre Dame would see the team reach the final four.
There was one additional game to play in the interim, with SMUS bowing out 3-1 to Reynolds in the Colonist Cup semi-final. Imasehka staked the Blue Jags to a 1-0 halftime lead, but the Roadrunners produced the required goals after intermission to make it to the Colonist Cup final.
The Senior Boys Volleyball team, after a runner-up finish in the City AA competition, hosted the Island Championships. In front of large and enthusiastic crowds, and with Karter Fry, Mark Finamore, Peter King, Eddie Kim and setter Kyle Stenberg prominent, the squad secured a nerve jangling three-set win against Lambrick Park. SMUS then topped pool play, securing a bye to the semi-final in the process, in tight affairs versus Highland and Carihi.
The semi-final, against Mark Isfeld, featured stellar defence, with Finamore and Ben Beattie registering numerous blocks against strong hitting opponents. A 25-17 win was followed by a 25-23 nail-biter, a result that not only propelled the Blue Jags to the final but also confirmed BC qualification.
While cross town rivals Pacific Christian School proved too strong in the gold medal match, Matias Totz and replacement libero Joonha Yang distinguished themselves. SMUS, now returning to provincials November 27-30 in Langley as the No. 11 seed, will look to spring a few upsets.
At the Junior Girls level, SMUS traveled to Nanaimo as the No. 10 seed for their Island Championships. In a gritty effort, the team, playing its best volleyball of the season, fought through to the bronze medal game, upsetting Dover Bay and earning a spot at provincials. Sophie Olcen enjoyed a strong tournament, while Makena Anderson was selected as an All-Star. The Blue Jags now head to the BC Junior finals November 21-23 at Seaquam Secondary in Delta.
While not advancing in their zone AAA event, the Senior Girls team played extremely well at Islands, though relegated to third place in pool play after losing out narrowly in a three-way tie-breaker versus Mark Isfled and GP Vanier. Ines Wang, Anna Brinham, Jasper Delichte and middle blocker Katie Rothwell led the way.
Alas, a close opening set quarterfinal loss to Ballenas set the tone for Day 2. Claudia Murr performed soundly, but SMUS could not stem opposition serving runs quickly enough. The fifth-place match versus Wellington was also extremely tight, with the Wildcats claiming the honours.
Congratulations to all athletes and coaches on the many successes in a demanding two-week period.