After falling short of a podium finish at last year’s provincial championships, the Langley Christian Lightning are determined to use that experience to their advantage.
“They got a taste of what it is like to play in a bronze medal match,” said Langley Christian coach Mary Joan Visscher.
“They had a chance to see the type of calibre that they need to work towards; they have been working towards that a lot.”
The Lightning senior girls volleyball team booked their ticket to next week’s provincial Single A championships in Kelowna (Nov. 27 to 29) with a four-set victory over the Southridge Storm in the Fraser Valley finals.
The match was played on Nov. 13 at Langley Christian School.
The teams split the first two sets and after the Lightning went ahead 2-1, they found themselves trailing 10-4 in the fourth set. But Langley Christian dominated the rest of the set, scoring 21 of the final 24 points.
This was the third time the Lightning played Southridge during the year, with both schools winning once.
“We just did a great job of playing consistent and not getting distracted,” Visscher said about the Fraser Valley final.
“They were focused and composed in their strategy.”
Langley Christian also won last year’s Fraser Valley title in Visscher’s first year as coach.
“This particular one was very special because we don’t always get to play in our home gym for a championship like the Fraser Valleys,” Visscher said. “It is usually at a neutral location (so) it was nice to see the girls that are graduating to be able to celebrate on their home floor.”
The Lightning were led by captain Emma Kastelein, who earned the Fraser Valley most valuable player award.
Picking up all-stars were Marieke DeVynk and Ali Wergeland.
Visscher said at the start of the year, the team’s first goal was to get to know one and other on the court, which is essential since high school rosters have such fluctuation year to year.
“It takes a while to build the team and see where everyone fits in,” she explained.
“It is a puzzle; you just have to see how all their girls, with all their skills, what they bring to the team and how it all looks.”
Once that was done, the goals were established: finish top 10 in all of their tournaments, win the Fraser Valley banner and qualify for provincials, and all three were accomplished.
Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Langley Christian Lightning’s Maya Vanderhoek (above) sends her shot past the block off a pair of Southridge Storm defenders during the Fraser Valley senior girls Single A volleyball championship match played at Langley Christian School last week (Nov. 13).