The Mount Baker Secondary School senior boys volleyball team finished their 2018 season, ranked in fifth place following their last tournament at the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships.
“They were focused, they performed well. We got a lot of homework done too, which is an added bonus,” said head coach John Kendal.
“At the end of the day, we finished one position above where BC Volleyball had ranked us … I had said all year long ‘if we could finish anywhere in the top five I’d be very happy.’ So, we achieved that.”
Vancouver Technical Secondary School was a team that looked to be one of the toughest to beat in the tournament. The Wild would end up facing them in the quarterfinals.
“We went out and executed very well. We had to stop their big outside – left side hitters. We definitely slowed their production down. The team was good enough that they could make a few more points in other parts of the game,” said Kendal.
The Wild were downed in three straight sets going 30-28, 25-16 and 25-21.
With the first set going into extra points it set the tone for the match.
“That’s a huge set. No fear in any of the guy’s eyes, they were just willing the execute. I would have loved to won that set. It may have changed the complexion a little bit, but credit to Van Tech, they didn’t panic either,” explained Kendal.
The perseverance of the team was a factor that really stood out to Kendal.
“The thing is, as a coach I look at it as they had to beat us, we didn’t roll over and die. My guys came out and played, they gave everything they had, ” Kendal said.
Jordan Simpson and Aiden Peters were both named the AAA Boys Second Team All-Stars at the end of the competition.
“Jordan Simpson, he’s a force in the middle … and all year long I felt strongly that Aiden Peters was maybe one of the better left sides in the province, and he proved that he was. He was a hitting machine all weekend, and he’s in Grade 11,” said Kendal.
Kendal also noted setter Riley Byman was a big factor in the success.
“Your team is never going to play well if you don’t have a truly good setter and we have that. Riley Byman runs an offence as well as anyone,” he said, adding the whole team was a contributor to how well they did in the competition.
With the season now done, Kendal said it was a good year for the team.
“Very good season. It fell on the heels of their last year’s season that was extraordinary for them,” he said.
Simpson and Byman have already signed to play with the College of the Rockies, but the college has also supported the team throughout the year while even playing a game against them.
Overall the team has a mix of Grade 11 and 12s. Next year Kendal is anticipating to have five of the players back.
“Coming up from the junior ranks there are some good looking prospects coming out of Mount Baker’s junior team. The other feeder for Mount Baker is Jaffray and there are a couple of big boys there that are coming into the program. The volleyball is healthy for next year,” said Kendal.
Next year, Kendal expects the team to finish as high or even higher in the standings.