Sometimes a little stress comes in handy.
The Victoria Volleyball Association Chargers West 14-under girls team, fresh from winning a nailbiting thriller against the hometown Abbotsford Gamache in the semifinals, had no break to speak of before Saturday’s B.C. Club Championship final, unlike their opponent. But they maintained their momentum and hammered Coquitlam Ducks 25-8, 25-17 for the title.
“It was a long day,” said Chargers coach Mike Toakley. “I was concerned that we would kind of be happy having beaten Abbotsford and would be just happy to be there. But as it turned out, we were the ones who came out all fired up.”
The group of 12 and 13 year olds, mostly students at Spencer middle school, showed great composure under pressure, said Toakley, who also coaches at Belmont secondary. “I was super-impressed with how the girls dealt with everything that was thrown at them. The final was almost anti-climactic.”
VVA West beat Seaside Storm 2-0 (25-20, 25-18) in the quarter-finals after going 3-0 in round robin play.
Abbotsford was a mystery team to them going into the tournament and was only known to VVA based on reputation. When the teams took to the court, the locals were fast, well-trained and showed defensive skills “outrageous for that level,” Toakley said. After many long rallies and critical digs and dives, VVA won 26-14, 18-25, 16-14.
Chargers West now prepare for the national championships, back the Abbotsford Tradex building, May 9 to 11.
The other VVA Chargers team in 14U girls finished the 60-team tournament 16th in Division 2 after posting a 1-2 record in preliminary matches.