It was an intense initiation for the Charles Hays’ junior boys volleyball team on Saturday.
Having seven of eight players in Grade 9 and one in Grade 10, the first time donning a Rainmakers jersey in the group’s career had them pulling their very first game out of the fire.
Having led 13-7, but seeing Terrace’s Centennial Christian School (CCS) roar back to take a 24-20 lead in the first set of a best-of-three match, the Rainmakers were on the edge of losing and having to win two straight sets to salvage their first match in the blue and green.
“We pulled back from nothing, it was scary as ever,” said new Grade 9 ‘Makers’ player Eric Lees.
“The first set was intense.”
Needing to run up four straight points to tie and another two to win, the Rainmakers didn’t flinch and took all six in a row, claiming their first set win as a team, 26-24.
“We pulled through. I said we would, I knew we would,” said head coach David Pham.
The Rainmakers then went on to dominate the CCS Seahawks 25-7 in the second set and won the match 26-24, 25-7.
“They’re doing great. They’re doing really well … I actually coached most of the boys here at the middle school last year, so I’m familiar with all the boys,” said Pham.
“We’re missing our one player [Liam McChesney], but I think they’re doing really good … We have Daniel [Cachero], our secondary captain, really stepping up today and Eric stepped up too.”
Lees was adamant that if they didn’t put forth their best effort, some unpleasant training drills would be in the team’s future.
“You never stop until Dave tells you to, unless you want to do some suicide [drills],” he joked.
And for most of the team consisting of Lees, Cachero, Seji Sahdra, Brandon Mckay, Liam Dobson, Kohen Chan and Henry Vo, their first time representing Charles Hays, couldn’t have gone any better.
“It’s amazing. It feels pretty awesome to represent our high school in a different sport than [the ultra-popular] basketball,” Lees said.
“It feels amazing because the Rainmakers are really big, so I’m proud to be on their team now,” added Sahdra, who claimed some valuable points with his consistent serve.
“It’s improved a lot [since] last year. I never expected my serves to be like this. It just feels amazing how I can get these points,” he said.
In the rest of the day’s action at Charles Hays, the Smithers Secondary School (SSS) Gryphons defeated the Rainmakers in a later match, 25-15, 25-21 and the Seahawks bested the Gryphons 25-17, 22-25, 15-7.
In Hazelton, the junior girls’ volleyball team went undefeated, beating Smithers’ Ebenezer Canadian Reformed School 25-12, 25-18, the Smithers Gryphons 25-14, 25-17 and the hosts Hazelton 25-16, 22-25, 15-13, to keep up their banner-winning pace from last year and go 3-0.
And in Smithers, the senior girls’ volleyball squad brought home a 3-1 record, defeating Ebenezer, Bulkley Valley Christian School and Hazelton, while falling to the Smithers Gryphons. Next action for the junior boys is Saturday, Oct. 17 in Terrace.