High School Volleyball: Top-ranked Oak Bay Barbers keeping it clean

Error-free Barbers are the highest ranked AAA team in B.C., eye provincial championship

Captain Alex Swiatlowski and the Oak Bay Barbers are the top-ranked senior boys volleyball team in the province.

Captain Alex Swiatlowski and the Oak Bay Barbers are the top-ranked senior boys volleyball team in the province.

As the older half of the Oak Bay Barbers play their final high school volleyball season, there’s a couple of things they’d like to take with them – the Island and provincial titles and anything else they can win along the way.

Seniors Alex Swiatlowski, Ryan Marcellus and Nick Stefanakis have played with Grade 11 students Elion Wong, Leon Young, Lars Bornemann and Matt Hampton, since they were brought together at Oak Bay High four years ago.

As juniors, the group won an Island and provincial championship. But, as a triple-A senior team, they were defeated by G.P. Vanier in last year’s Island finals and were knocked out of the provincials by Earl Marriot (Surrey).

Oak Bay hasn’t won the senior provincial volleyball title since 2006.

So far, it’s motivated the Barbers to an undefeated season as the top-ranked triple-A team in the province. Along the way they redeemed themselves against Earl Marriott in a September tournament, part of a perfect record.

Well, nearly perfect.

“We did lose a set in tournament play,” said Swiatlowski, the team captain.

“We’re pretty happy with the fact we’ve beaten every triple-A team ranked in the top 10 that we’ve played, plus the top double-A ranked team, Langley Christian (twice).”

The Barbers started October by winning a 40-team tournament hosted by University of B.C. Plenty of CIS scouts were there to see the 6-foot-6 height of Swiatlowksi, one of many Barbers likely to play for a university next year.

Coming up, Oak Bay will host the AAA Islands on Nov. 18 and 19, a tournament the Barbers are favoured to win easily.

Until then, coach Al Carmichael has the team working on the little things, Swiatlowski said.

“We’re keeping our eyes on provincials, but game in and game out we’re working on the specifics, like our passing and attacks.”

The Barbers can’t afford to look past their local competition, as they learned during a league game against Claremont earlier this season.

“Claremont has talent and they can play, but we played an error-free set, winning 25-1,” Swiatlowski said.

“I guess we got distracted and in the second set, we still won 25-15, but we made 14 unforced errors. Eliminating errors has been a big difference this year.”

It’s not that the Barbers need a perfect league record to accomplish what they want. They’ve just been playing as a group for so long, they’ve become accustomed to pushing for more. Some of the guys have been together since Grade 8 at Lansdowne middle school, said Barbers’ assistant coach Rick Wutzke, who coached that team to a city and provincial championship.

“Then they came to Oak Bay and got coach Carmichael, who is such a great coach and builds on that success.”

Just Posted

Elaine Kirwin in her Expedia Cruises office talks about the future of travel. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Sidney travel agency charts course through pandemic

Owner of Expedia Cruises in Sidney expects smooth sailing ahead once travel restrictions lift

Oak Bay Rotary Club member Lorna Curtis takes over as District Governor of Rotary District 5020 on July 1. (Courtesy Lorna Curtis)
Former Oak Bay recreation director goes international with Rotary

Lorna Curtis takes over as district governor on July 1

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read