The MEI Eagles senior boys volleyball team has recaptured the 2A provincial title.
MEI wrapped up a dominant playoff run on Saturday night, with a 3-0 (27-25, 25-19 and 25-23) over the Langley Christian Lightning inside the Langley Events Centre.
The win is the 11th all-time senior boys title for the school and the first championship since 2015.
“The biggest thing was being steady with our serving and passing. Both teams were trying to establish that. And then hopefully from that, run an effective offence,” stated MEI coach Rocky Olfert after the win. “That was the biggest thing, trying to be steady and settle the nerves.”
At the Eastern Valley Championships earlier this month, Langley Christian beat the Eagles, to earn both the Zone title and the No. 1 ranking for the 16-team provincial championships.
“That loss really motivated our team, it didn’t bring us down,” said MEI’s Tyson Ardell, named the tournament’s most valuable player. “I felt like after that, we saw a challenge in front of us, we were able to work on our skills and get ready for a rematch.”
The Eagles would prevail in their pool, dropping just one set total in three best-of-three matches on opening day.
From there, the team cruised through the round of 16 and quarterfinals with back-to-back 3-0 wins over Prince Charles and Surrey Christian.
Friday night saw the Eagles emerge with a win in the ‘Battle of Abbotsford’ semifinal against the Abbotsford Christian School Knights. MEI won that game 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-16 and 25-15).
“Embrace the moment, they have earned it. Try and take it all in but also not to make it more than what it is. The points are still the same so be nice and calm and not get too high or too low,” Olfert said of his pre-game message to his relatively young squad, which has just a pair of Grade 12 starters.
One of those was Ardell, the MVP.
“He has had a phenomenal four days. They always say big players step up in big games and he really did that for us. His leadership really shone through. You could see it in his eyes, his determination, his desire, he wanted the ball. It was really fun to watch,” the coach said.
“He is not naturally an outside hitter, but he really stepped up and it was fun to watch. When we needed something big to happen, he really stepped up.”
The Knights took home the bronze, defeating George Elliot 3-2 in the third place game.
Knights players Josh Aperloo and Zach Meinen, along with MEI’s Hunter Arul-Pragasam were named tournament first team all-stars. MEI’s Micah Bucknam was named a second team all-star.
The LEC also hosted the 3A senior boys tournament, where the Yale Lions finished 16th in the province.
Meanwhile in Vernon the MEI senior girls volleyball team finished fourth in the province.
The girls has a strong run in pool play, then defeated the St. Pats and Langley Christian in the first two rounds of the playoffs on Friday. MEI then fell to Pacific Academy on Saturday morning to eliminate the club from gold medal contention. The Eagles closed off the event falling to George Elliot in the bronze medal game.
For more details on the tournament results from the LEC, visit bcssvolleyballchampionships.ca.