As the high school volleyball season hits the home stretch, the Mennonite Educational Institute Eagles are gearing up for runs at the B.C. championships.
On Tuesday evening, MEI’s junior and senior boys teams were both in the Fraser Valley finals at the Langley Events Centre, and the younger squad earned the regional banner, defeating Langley Christian in four sets. Kaden Gamache was tournament MVP, while Jared Reid and Carson Bargen earned all-star nods.
MEI hosts the junior boys provincials this week, beginning Thursday with opening ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. at the secondary school. The three-day event culminates at 2 p.m. Saturday with the gold medal game.
The senior Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the province in AA, suffered an upset loss in the Valley final, falling in three sets to No. 2 Langley Fundamental. Star outside hitter Ben Lieuwen was sidelined with a dislocated ankle, but he still earned an all-star award, as did teammate Jordan Loewen.
“It’s one of those things where we just need to refocus and make sure we’re not overreacting to this loss,” said Eagles coach Jordan Geransky, whose team will get another crack at Langley Fundamental at the provincial championships next week in Kelowna.
“They played extremely well. We struggled to get them off the net – they passed extremely well and their offence was really crisp.”
MEI’s Grade 8 girls team earned a Valley title last week, beating Pacific Academy in two sets in the final as Emma Gamache picked up MVP honours and Nicola Peters and Sydney Dyck were named all-stars. Another local squad, Chief Dan George, took bronze with all-star Kristen Spitzig leading the way.
The Eagles Grade 8 boys took bronze in their Valley draw behind an all-star effort from Ethan Bucknam, and the junior girls also notched a third-place finish.
MEI’s senior girls finished fourth in the Valley and will play a wild card game on Saturday for a AA provincial berth. Tessa Ratzlaff was a tourney all-star.
The Rick Hansen Hurricanes senior girls squad also tasted success this week, beating the Brookswood Bobcats in the AAA Fraser Valley bronze medal game and earning their first provincial berth since 2008. Right side Leah Bens was a tourney all-star.
“It’s a great achievement, and it’s something we’ve been working on really hard for the past five years to get to that point again,” Hansen coach Rebeca Monzo enthused.
Jared Reid of the MEI Eagles junior squad lines up a kill in the Valley final vs. Langley Christian. (Gary Ahuja / Black Press)