Captain leads ‘scrappy’ Lambrick Lions volleyball team

At 5-foot-4, Émilie Wong epitomizes what the Lambrick Park Lions volleyball team is all about.

Grade 11 student Émilie Wong is the captain of the Lambrick Park Lions volleyball team

Grade 11 student Émilie Wong is the captain of the Lambrick Park Lions volleyball team

At 5-foot-4, Émilie Wong epitomizes what the Lambrick Park Lions volleyball team is all about.

“We’re a short team, a scrappy team. We were the smallest team at the (AA) Island championshps and we’ll probably be the smallest team at provincials,” said coach Chris Koutougos.

Despite winning the Island championship at St. Michaels University School last week, the Lions do not have a top-three finish in their sights when they attend the AA girls provincials, beginning Nov. 29 in Nanaimo.

Instead, the team which won AA silver at the past two provincials is hoping for a top-10 spot.

“We’re confident in our hard work and no matter what the outcome we’ll be happy,” Wong said.

Wong is part of a core of Grade 11 players on the team returning to the Lions next year, and this year is building towards that. The team uses heart in place of height, of which Koutougos estimates the team’s average is 5-foot-6.

“We win games we have no business winning, our strength is in our team,” Koutougos said.

Before defeating Brentwood College in the Island final, the Lions had to survive the semifinal. Host St. Michaels had the Lions on the rope in the fourth set, with leads of 9-2 and 19-12.

“To face elimination (in the fourth set) then win the way we did, on a 13-4 run, is unheard of. It was the best I’ve ever seen (St. Michaels) play but we were able to rally.”

Wong’s calming demeanour and competitive nature was crucial to the Lions in that game against St. Michaels, said Koutoutgos.

It’s one of her greatest strengths, and reasons she is captain of the Lions. Wong is following in the footsteps of a chain of great Lambrick Park captains. Last year it was Tyger Holt, a 6-foot-2 rookie now playing volleyball for the University of Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and 2010 captain Taryn Gmitroski, who plays volleyball for the University of Alberta Augustana Campus in Camrose.

Wong was a teammate with both of them, making this her third straight trip to provincials.

“I was pretty small kid in Grade 9, and (Gmitroski) had to pump me up. Whenever I think about how to lead, I think about what they did. (Holt) pushed us a lot, too.”

Wong is also contemplating a college start to her post-secondary studies so she can keep playing volleyball. But it’s not such a simple decision for the award-winning academic.

She has a 4.0 GPA and had the top chemistry 11 mark last year, as a Grade 10 student.

“I’m hoping for a (university) scholarship in both, and I’ve given a little thought to starting at Camosun. I know the coach (Chris Dahl) and that would be fine,” Wong said.

Wong will likely return for her second season as captain next year, a team that is mostly Grade 12s.

The expectations will be higher then, and until then, it’s all about working hard and having fun, she said.

Lions pride

 

2012 grad Chelsea Strandlund is back as an assistant coach with the Lions. Last year she was the MVP of the AA provincials despite the Lions finishing second. Her sister Jasmine is a Grade 11 student currently with the Lions. Both are exceptional baseball players. Chelsea has lined up a scholarship to play baseball for the University of North Carolina in Greensborough, an NCAA

Div. I program.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Victoria police are investigating after a person broke into and stole a vehicle from a Douglas Street car dealership on the morning of March 3. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Suspect sought after vehicle swiped from Victoria dealership

Suspect broke into Douglas Street dealership shortly before 5 a.m.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read