Talent was never a question for the Langley Fundamental Titans.
Head coach Matt Lewis knew his team had skill — two years, the core of his squad captured the B.C. junior boys provincial title.
What concerned him was his senior boys’ volleyball team’s performance at last season’s provincial championships where the team played as a bunch of individuals and wound up finishing seventh.
But it was lesson learned as the Titans won the first-ever B.C. senior boys AA provincial title in the program’s history on Saturday at the UBC-Okanagan campus in Kelowna.
“They set each other up so they would be able to utilize their strengths,” Lewis said.
“I am just so proud of them; they did great.”
The Titans went 2-1 in pool play at the tournament on the first day, defeating the Langley Christian Lightning and the MEI Eagles, but falling to Okanagan-Mission.
Seeded second in the pool for the playoff round, the Titans won in straight sets over George Elliott and College Heights to advance to the semifinals.
The Titans then won 3-1 (25-22,25-17,22-25,34-32) over MEI in the semifinals and defeated the Lightning 3-0 (25-21,25-18,25-23) to lay claim to the provincial crown.
“This year, we came together as a team and played with each other instead of just a one-man show,” said power hitter Carson Heppell, who earned the tournament’s most outstanding player award.
“It means everything to win,” added Tristan Loewen, who picked up the most outstanding libero award. “It is the first one in school history, so it is pretty special.”
Loewen said the players were disappointed in last year’s showing at provincials.
“We were just disappointed in ourselves because we knew we were better than that,” he explained.
“We just fell apart and didn’t get the outcome we wanted. We just had to push harder.”
Five of the team’s seven starters are in Grade 12 so Loewen said the players wanted to leave it all on the floor in their final high school game.
Lewis admitted he was nervous going into the semifinals.
MEI has been the team’s chief rival all season long, winning their first three head-to-head matches. The Titans finally broke through two weeks ago in the Fraser Valley final when they beat the Eagles for the first time.
But in that game, MEI was missing one of their best players to injury and he was back for provincials and Lewis was concerned this might affect his team mentally.
“But they pulled through and played great,” the coach said.
In addition to Heppell’s and Loewen’s awards, Denham O’Reilly and Michael Hsu earned first team all-stars and Steven Hsu was a second team all-star.