The Maggie Mustangs came out on top of a five-set battle with the Summerland Rockets in Okanagan Valley AA action.
The senior boys squad hosted the Rockets on Wednesday winning 25-18, 24-26, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-9 to earn the right to host the South Zone championship.
“It was an important match,” said John Buckley, filling in for Mustangs coach Rich Corrie, who was ill. “I thought they played well. We were trying to focus on consistent play so we had moments where we struggled a little bit with momentum going up and then going down. The points in the match reflected that.”
In the deciding set, the Mustangs led 10-1 after jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Not only was the match important for the Mustangs in terms of playoff implications, but they proved they can beat the Rockets. The Summerland squad had won the previous two matches.
“It was nice to finally take them out in five sets,” said Mustangs captain Liam Brown. “It was a tough battle but we stuck it out. Had some big blocks and serves at the end that kept us in the game.”
When the Mustangs had down moments, especially trailing by as much as 10 points, Brown used his energy to motivate this teammates. Even when the Mustangs didn’t win a point, he encouraged the group to push forward.
“We expect him to have that presence on the court. Other boys look up to him, and respect him,” said Buckley. “His presence is important for us. It helps keep everybody in check.”
Brown said the Mustangs and Rockets are evenly matched. Leading the way for the Rockets was Bailey Burdick, who used his six-foot-five frame to block and power shots by the Mustangs.
“Their offence goes through him. He is a big, strong, athletic body,” said Buckley. “If we are aware of that, and we make the right reads, we can play well against them.”