The Eagles trailed 14-11 in a decisive fifth set in Saturday’s provincial final, but with their backs against the wall pulled out the incredible 16-14 win.
The see saw battle saw the Eagles win a marathon opening set 31-29, again coming back after falling behind 15-7 at one point. The Lightning battled back to win set two 25-22, but the Eagles retook the lead in set three with a 27-25 win.
LCS dominated in the fourth set, winning 25-10 to send the game to the fifth.
Eagles head coach Kara David said home court advantage helped, but the girls belief in themselves and team chemistry earned the victory.
“The girls really believed in themselves and had a ton of support,” she said. “I think they were excited and honoured to host, and the crowd made a huge difference.They just didn’t really feel much pressure, even when we were down.”
The team was made up of seven Grade 12 and seven Grade 11 students. Davis said the Grade 12 students have been playing on the same team since Grade 6, and to repeat as provincial champions on their home court is a fitting end to their high school careers.
MEI’s Janelle Loewen was named tournament most valuable player, while Karissa Marazzi was named top libero. Eagles players Ashley Huberts and Kayla Janzen were named to the tournament’s first and second team all-star squads respectively.
“Karissa is just our rock out there and Ashley peaked when she had to – she killed three important balls for us at the end of the game,” she said.
She said the experience from last year helped the Eagles in their repeat.
LCS earned silver, while Surrey Christian School picked up bronze.
Meanwhile, the Eagles senior boys team picked up AA bronze in Langley on Saturday. MEI, extended its AA medal streak to 15 years after defeating top seed and Fraser Valley rival Pacific Academy in five (25-21, 13-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11). The Eagles did it with an 8-point closing run.
For more on both teams achievements, read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News.