Ballenas blockers Sophie Dugas, left, and Samantha Dimter go up to stuff a shot in the Whalers’ victory over Vanier Secondary of Comox in the North Island Senior Girls Volleyball Championships in Port Alberni Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Ballenas blockers Sophie Dugas, left, and Samantha Dimter go up to stuff a shot in the Whalers’ victory over Vanier Secondary of Comox in the North Island Senior Girls Volleyball Championships in Port Alberni Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Ballenas volleyball squad falls one spot short of Island berth

Parksville team ends season with sixth-place finish in North Islands

The Ballenas Whalers senior girls volleyball team rallied from a rocky start, but fell one match short of qualifying for the Island championships with a sixth-place finish in the North Island tournament in Port Alberni Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Facing the host Armada in the fifth-place game at Alberni Valley Secondary School, the Whalers dropped a 25-13, 25-16 decision that ended the team’s season. The top five finishers in the North Island championships earned the right to move on to the provincial-qualifying Island finals this weekend in Campbell River.

The host city will be well-represented. Carihi of Campbell River outdueled cross-town rival Timberline in the North Island championship final as the teams advanced as the top two seeds from the North Island. Nanaimo District Secondary, Mark Isfeld of Comox and ADSS claimed the other three berths.

“This is almost like a provincial tournament for our girls,” Ballenas coach Steve Dorsey said. “You’ve got four of the top-ranked teams in the province in this (North Island) tournament. It’s both wonderful and difficult.”

The Whalers were thrown into the challenge promptly, facing Timberline and Isfeld in their first two Pool B matches Friday. They were swept 25-18, 25-12 by Timberline and 25-11, 25-9 by Mark Isfeld to fall into an 0-2 hole before turning things around.

Ballenas began its rally with a marathon, 25-21, 23-25, 15-10 win over Frances Kelsey before closing out Friday’s pool round with a convincing 25-12, 25-9 sweep of G.P. Vanier Secondary of Comox.

Their 2-2 record placed the Whalers third among the five teams in Pool B. That earned Ballenas a spot in the six-team championship bracket, starting with a semifinal match Saturday morning against NDSS, the Pool A runner-up. Nanaimo swept to a 25-20, 25-17 victory that dropped the Whalers into the fifth-place contest against Alberni.