As recently as a week and a half ago, the senior boys volleyball team from Abbotsford Christian Secondary thought their season was over.
They'd lost to local rival Credo Christian of Langley in the Fraser Valley title game, and with the region getting just one berth into the B.C. Single A championship in Duncan, they were apparently finished.
But today, the Knights are proud owners of provincial silver medals, and how they came to own those baubles is quite the Cinderella story.
On Monday, Nov. 18, Abby Christian received word that one of the teams from northern B.C. was declining its provincial berth, freeing up a spot for the Knights. After hustling to arrange transportation and accommodation on short notice, the team was off to Duncan.
The Knights, unmentioned in the most recent edition of the provincial Single A rankings, had an inauspicious start to the tourney, losing all three of their round-robin games last Thursday. But they bounced back on Friday, winning their last two preliminary games to squeak into the playoffs.
In the quarter-finals, the Knights stunned Richmond Christian, No. 3-ranked team in the province, in three straight sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-22). That earned them a semifinal match-up with No. 2 Centennial Christian, and the Abby squad came through again, this time in five sets (22-25, 25-21, 24-26, 26-24, 15-5).
That set up a rematch with Credo Christian in the final, where the clock struck midnight on the Knights' magical run – they fell in three sets (25-22, 25-17, 25-19).
Nevertheless, it marked the best finish at a provincial tournament in the history of Abby Christian's senior boys volleyball program.
"The guys just picked the right time to peak," Knights head coach Kit Williams marveled. "Everyone just found their A game all at the same time, and we were able to put it together for a couple full matches."
Senior power hitter Eric Vaags earned first team all-star honours after a tournament-long performance which Williams termed "unstoppable," while Aaron Postma was a second-teamer and Sam Goertzen was an honourable mention.
"We weren't even expecting to be there, and to get that second chance was huge," Williams said.
"(The players) had the attitude that we weren't even supposed to be there, so we might as well give our all. There was no nervousness."