Chemainus Secondary School isn’t known for producing championship teams in volleyball. But that’s all changing.
With good coaching and a renewed focus to develop talent in the sport, Chemainus achieved instant success by winning the Island A crown for senior boys and qualified to compete in the provincials in Abbotsford Nov. 20 to 22.
Andrew Easson brought his considerable volleyball experience from Duncan Christian School to formulate a plan that’s already paying dividends.
“My hope is that this provincial trip will be just what the school needs to create a buzz for the volleyball program,’’ noted coach Easson. “By next year, this team could be a contender, so I anticipate that you will be hearing much more about them by next volleyball season.’’
Heading into the Island tournament, there wasn’t a clear favourite among the four teams. Two teams had not seen each other during the season.
Since Ucluelet beat Chemainus at last year’s Island championship, Chemainus seniors Zach Diewert and Richard Moore were not interested in seeing history repeat itself.
As the tournament progressed, it turned into a real dogfight. Chemainus was the only team that hadn’t played in tournaments and league matches, taking time to get the season going and just starting to practise two weeks before the Island finals. All Chemainus had under its belt was an exhibition match against the competitive DCS junior boys.
Scores were a bit deceiving, with the only close matches for Chemainus coming against Ucluelet during round robin play.
Chemainus beat Campbell River 25-20, 25-12 and Gaglardi 25-12, 25-16.
Chemainus had Ucluelet on the ropes in the first game with a 24-19 lead but caught a couple of unlucky breaks that suddenly turned the game into a 24-24 tie. From there, it went back and forth but Chemainus served the last couple of points to win 28-26. There was no turning back, as Chemainus romped to a 25-11 win in the second set.
Chemainus faced Ucluelet again in the championship match and the teams were neck-and-neck in the first game again, tied at 18-18 and 22-22. Ucluelet pulled ahead 24-22, but coach Easson called a timeout to compose the team, and Kyle Kulak promptly served four straight points to produce a 26-24 victory. The second set was not nearly as close again and Chemainus took a 25-19 victory, leading by three or four points most of the way.
Jayden Hamm was the tournament’s most valuable player, and Moore received all-star status. Diewert, Nathaniel White and Sam Baker also played well throughout for Chemainus.