The Charles Hays senior boys’ volleyball team competed at the zone championships this past weekend in Smithers and didn’t disappoint.
The squad earned a spot at provincials after winning the Northwest regional title – a feat they came oh, so close to doing in 2014, but fell just short in a marathon finals match against the Smithers Secondary Gryphons.
This year, the opponent was the same, but the end result was much different.
The Rainmakers started the tournament against the hosts, Smithers Secondary School with a straight sets win 25-14, 25-16.
With a quick turnaround in this one day event, the next match up would see Prince Rupert play Caledonia Secondary School.
The ’Makers made quick work in another straight sets win over the Terrace team 25-18, 25-11. The athletes had to deal with a compressed schedule during this one day event.
“It wasn’t easy for the boys to play so quickly, but the boys carried a very high level of emotional intensity throughout the tournament, and were well-organized,” said head coach Stefan Delloch.
The final was a rematch of the first game of the day for the Rainmakers as well as last year’s finals, pitting them against Smithers once again.
It was a tightly played contest, but the Rupert athletes were able to continue their high intensity and strong play, winning the final 25-13, 25-19, and 25-15.
The Rainmakers didn’t lose a set.
It was an amazing result for the team and losing in the fifth set of the zone finals (15-13) last year, that experience definitely helped the team succeed this year, and no doubt was a big moment for the group.
The Rainmakers will lose all nine players to graduation at the end of this year.
All-stars for the tournament from the team were Tyler Duffy, Justin McChesney and John Nelson. The tournament MVP went to Justin McChesney.
“From the start of the season until now they are a completely different team, they did a phenomenal job,” Delloch added.
The solid attacking balance of the team and their overall structure was a big contributor to the team’s success. Coach Delloch elaborated on that.
“The biggest reason we won was having balance throughout the line-up. We were able to have five legitimate attacking options on the court at all times, with two very dominant hitters in Justin and Tyler. We also had great height blocking with Aiden Bull and Cole Marogna. It’s not very often in Prince Rupert you get that kind of balance. It is a special team and group of athletes,” Delloch said.
“The Rainmakers were able to overwhelm the other teams. Rupert player Jon Nelson did a great job of mixing things up and keeping the attack unpredictable,” the coach added.
The athletes and the staff will now represent the Northwest at the AA volleyball provincials.
The top 16 teams compete at this event in Langley from Dec. 3 – 5.