The Ballenas Whalers junior girls finished second at the North Island Junior Volleyball Championships that they hosted Nov. 1-3.
The Whalers fought hard but were not able to get past the Nanaimo Islanders, who ended up clinching the high school title after securing a 3-2 win in the final.
The road to the gold-medal round was not an easy one for the Whalers as they had to survive three-set matches against G.P. Vanier Towhees and John Barsby Bulldogs in the early rounds. They started out well in both games but faded in the second set. The Whalers were able to regroup in the third set to secure the crucial wins and guarantee themselves a berth at the Island Championships at Brentwood College in Mill Bay, Nov. 7-8.
In the semifinals they bested the Vanier Towhees again to advance to final where they faced Nanaimo Islanders for the gold medal. The final was a closely contested affair as it went to three sets but with the Islanders prevailing in the end to grab the gold.
Head coach Steve Dorsay said inconsistencies in the Whalers’ serving and hitting led to their downfall. The Whalers’ service game, when it’s clicking well, has given rivals a tough time receiving and controlling the ball.
“I am confident that this won’t happen at the Islands,” said Dorsay. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to have our great team play in the Islands. They are a very skilled competitive team who has beaten most teams in the North Islands or has gone to three sets against a couple of the better teams. We know we can compete and will give our all each point, set, and match. It has been very enjoyable coaching this group of girls and look forward to the thrill of watching them play their best each game.”
The Whalers have been playing excellent volleyball leading to the North Islands. They were unbeaten in the district and were second at a tournament in Victoria that featured 19 teams.
The top four teams in the North Islands, NDSS, Ballenas, Mark Isfeld Ice and Vanier advanced to the Islands. The South Island teams at the tourney are going to be Spectrum, Brentwood, Claremont, Gulf Islands, Oak Bay, Belmont and St. Michael’s University.