Athletics Week in Review: November 23

The last two weeks of sport at SMUS has been jam-packed with fine performances and many teams competing for a spot at provincial competitions.

Volleyball

The gymnasium was rocking November 19 and 20, as SMUS hosted the Vancouver Island AA Senior Girls Volleyball tournament.

Entering the event as the south Island No. 3 seed, on the heels of a somewhat disappointing City finish, the Blue Jags turned on the power in front of large and boisterous crowds to emerge as champions.

Opening day pool play saw the Blue Jags beat Kwalikum and Highland before then dispatching top-ranked Pacific Christian School. Though unable to protect a handsome lead in the first set, the team rallied impressively to advance via comfortable 25-16 and 15-7 wins.

The win moved SMUS directly to the tournament semifinals. In this match, now best of five sets and a rematch versus Kwalikum, the Blue Jags secured a place in the final courtesy of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16 victories.

This set the stage for a huge match-up versus Brentwood College. An excellent, all-round team effort produced another sweep, with the Blue Jags claiming both a first-ever Island crown (25-20, 26-24 and 25-21) and a berth in the BC AA finals December 3-4.

Throughout the weekend, Makena Anderson led the offence, providing numerous huge hits. Ava Gillespie, Sophie Olcen, Skye Farish and Alienor de Nanteuil took turns serving very effectively, while libero Delaney Arkell excelled defensively. Arkell was named a tournament All-Star, with Anderson capturing MVP honours.

Meanwhile, the Senior Boys travelled to Nanaimo to compete in their provincial qualifier. Missing power hitter LeRoy Wang due to a finger injury, the team adapted extremely well, winning six consecutive sets, versus Esquimalt, north Island top seed Wellington, and Mark Isfeld, to win its pool.

With Nathan Chiao moving to the hitter position and Geoff Lei taking over as libero, SMUS faced crosstown rivals Lambrick Park in the opening semifinal. Earlier meetings with the Lions indicated there was little to choose between the two teams, and so it proved once again. Indeed, the five-set thriller literally went down to the last point, with SMUS dropping a 15-13 final game heartbreaker.

Undeterred, the Blue Jags bounced back immediately to defeat a talented Gulf Island team in the crucial bronze-medal match. By so doing, the team achieved one of its goals in reaching the BC AA tournament. This closing competition runs December 2-4.

In addition to Chiao and Lei, setter Ryan Cheng enjoyed a fine tournament, as did Will Liu, who, as one of the strongest players in the event, paced the attack. Chris Lee, Ben Ingimundson and Kyle Berger-North registered key blocks, with Hugo Accad also contributing well. Likewise, Joshua Muwonge and Ryan Killoran effectively filled various roles when needed most.

Over the SMUS mid-term break, the Junior Girls took part in their Island championship. In a very closely contested tournament, a number of matches just slipped away, with the team eventually finishing in 9th position. Nonetheless, the players gained a great deal of experience, which will stand them in good stead come the fall of 2022.

Squash

In squash, at the UVic Open, there were a series of fine results in what was a mixed, adult level event. Reaching all but one division final, SMUS athletes were well represented by Alden Weymar, who upset three seeded players to reach the “A” championship. In the “B” competition, Stuart Kerr nudged Katie Herring in a tight, five-set affair, with both also defeating high seeds en route. Then, in the “C” division, Damon Bains defeated Rocky Pan, while, at Women’s “B” level, Serena Chan, Amya Naimi and Lucy O’Connor placed second, third and fourth respectively. All involved will look to carry this good form into the BC Gold Invitational on November 26-28.

Soccer

The Senior Boys failed to advance from their pool at the Islands, played in Campbell River in torrential rain. Losses to Brentwood College and Lambrick Park balanced a sole win versus Mark Isfeld. Congratulations to Campbell Wilson, who showed great skill and tenacity in scoring all five of the team’s goals in the competition.

While SMUS thus missed out on BC qualification, it did have the satisfaction of returning to Victoria and winning the Colonist Shield. The team avenged a regular season loss to Pacific Christian School with a comprehensive 5-0 victory, before then dropping Spectrum 2-1 in the final.

Rugby

The Grade 9 Rugby team also ended its season, with the squad finishing up in Vancouver versus St. Georges. A bright start failed to produce two opening tries, with an interception score by the hosts then swinging the momentum of the match. Ewan Webber-Smith and Zaki Pelyhe both ran strongly throughout the contest, while Jack Driscoll, capping an excellent team try, scored in the left corner just before the full-time whistle.

Field Hockey

In alumni news, accolades continue to pour in for Anna Mollenhauer ’17. The SMUS grad not only recently led her UVic Vikes Women’s Field Hockey team to a third consecutive national university championship but was also named the U Sports National Field Hockey Player of the Year.

Vivat!

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