The 2013 Youth Beach Provincial Championships took centre stage on the sand courts down at Parksville Community Park on the weekend, as 120 gritty young players from all over B.C. turned out for the big annual doubles event.
Played out Saturday (pool play) and Sunday (playoffs), the tourney featured 60 teams — 49 of them female — in three divisions: 13 and under, 15U and 17U. There were no 13 and under boys teams.
Hosted by Volleyball B.C., the tournament plaque dates back to 1999 — this is the first time the provincials have been held in Parksville.
“It went really well,” Volleyball B.C.’s Vancouver Island Regional coach Stephen Epp and event coordinator said after, adding “everything ran smooth, the weather for the most part held out for us, and everybody really seemed to enjoy the location, the beach, and all the surrounding amenities of Parksville.”
The lone local in the mix was Parksville’s Mariah St. Pierre and her partner Kaitlyn Franklin from Nanaimo. The tandem won their first two games by identical 21-6 scores on Saturday when we stopped by, and they ended up finishing first in the 17U Girls Tier 2 division.
Asked about the level of play spectators were treated to, Epp confirmed “it was really high quality beach volleyball,” pointing out there were a lot of provincial level players on hand, and a number of which will be competing at the National beach championships in Vancouver in two weeks.
The local beach volleyball season wraps up Aug. 30-Sept. 1 with the 24th annual Volleybash. Co-ed Triples goes the Saturday and men’s and women’s doubles on Sunday.