Royals move to provincials

Vernon Christian School Royals will be ranked No. 3 in the B.C. Senior A Boys Volleyball playoffs

The Vernon Christian School Royals will be ranked No. 3 in the B.C. Senior A Boys Volleyball Championships, Nov. 23-25 in Kamloops.

The Royals, coached by Dwayne Remple and Chris Bannick, fell 3-1 to the host St. Ann’s Crusaders in Saturday’s final of the Okanagan Valley finals in Kamloops.

Led by a boisterous home crowd, the Crusaders took the first set 25-13. The Royals bounced back and won 25-21 to level the match. The third set was a real battle with the Crusaders prevailing 25-22 before sealing things 25-20.

Noah Podolski recorded 10 kills for Vernon, while Liam Remple recorded four kills and five blocks.

“We played well this weekend and the finals was a real battle that could have went either way,” said Bannick. “Even though we were playing with injuries, sickness, and players needing to fill holes, our depth was key to our success. I am proud of the boys and what this young team has accomplished so far.”

In pool play Friday, the Royals grounded the Kelowna Christian Knights 25-22, 25-21. Josh Hall led the Royals with seven kills and three aces. Remple was a force at the net with five kills in eight attempts and two solo blocks.

The Royals then rolled the King’s Christian Thunder of Salmon Arm 25-10, 25-23. Ben Molitwenik, who switched to right side for the tournament, led the attack with eight kills and four service aces. Remple chipped in with six kills down the middle and two aces, while outside attacker Levi VanderDeen rang up three kills and two aces.

In Saturday’s semifinals, the Royals iced the Revelstoke Avalanche 3-1 (22-25, 25-19,25-17,25-19).

The Seaton Sonics will host the Valley Championships starting Friday after wrapping up the North Zone playdowns Championship with a 3-1 victory (25-12, 22-25, 25-19, 25-9) over Fulton Maroons.

Seaton used a balanced attack in the tourney with setter and team captain Landen Harison being creative and unpredictable all night. Trent Graham and Nakoda Parker had some vicious attacks from the outside and Hudson Bird and Nick Maglio varied the attack with some quicks from the middle. Libero Elijah Burnham was key in the back row, making some great passes to help mount the attack.

“I was proud of the way the boys powered through,” said Seaton head coach Adam Tishenko. “We struggled with our passing in the second set and Fulton took advantage, but we were able to settle down and play our style the rest of the way. The boys maintained their focus and their intensity built through the night. We are looking forward to hosting the Valleys.”

Seaton enters the tournament as the No. 10-ranked AA team in the province. The top three Valley finishers move on to the provincials, Nov. 29-Dec. 2, at the Langley Events Centre.

The Sonics open Friday, 1:45 p.m. against the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton. Fulton takes on the South Okanagan Hornets of Oliver at 1:15. The gold-medal match goes Saturday at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Sonics will be the No. 1 North Zone seed at the Valley Junior Boys Volleyball Championships starting Friday in Kelowna.

The Sonics erased a 24-22 deficit and took the final opener 27-25 over the VSS Panthers before winning 25-14 for the pennant.

Seaton stopped the Kalamalka Lakers 2-0 (25-14, 26-24) to reach the semifinal against the Fulton Maroons. Setter Ronan Bedard delivered 18 serves in the first set to put the Sonics up 17-1 en route to a 25-11 victory. Fulton won 25-23 in the second set before Seaton finally finished off the feisty Maroons 15-6.

The Sonics will also be top-rated in the Valley junior girls playoffs starting Friday in Kamloops.

Seaton, coached by Aly Lypchuk, took the Zone banner by bouncing VSS 2-0 (26-24, 25-10) in the final.

The 21-0 Sonics earlier grounded the Charles Bloom Timberwolves of Lumby 2-0 (25-15, 25-2) and dispatched the Pleasant Valley Saints of Armstrong 2-0 (25-16, 25-9).

“Once again our defence was strong with some huge blocks by Madie Gardner and key digs from Rebecca Haberstock, Jayde Brumpton and Heather Chmelyk,” said Lypchuk.