Nanaimo Christian School’s senior volleyball teams are both preparing for provincials as Island champions.
The school’s senior A girls and senior A boys teams won Island titles this month at Duncan Christian School. The NCS Trail Blazers girls won their title first, sweeping through their tournament without dropping a set and finishing with a 25-11, 25-14 blowout against the host DCS team. The NCS boys then had their tournament pushed back due to flooding, but handled the delay and finished with a 25-22, 25-21 win against St. Andrew’s in the final.
Trail Blazers captain Olivia Phillips, who was chosen MVP at Islands, said her team has bonded well this year.
“We all just play really well together and it shows on the court,” she said. “We’ve worked a lot on our passing and I think that really shows. We were getting every ball up and we were able to put it over every time.”
Senior A girls’ provincials are in Castlegar and the continued impacts of flooding could affect the tournament, but the Trail Blazers are focusing on what they can control, practising lots and fundraising for their trip. Phillips said winning the Island championship felt great and players are “really excited” about being able to extend their season to provincials after last season was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hadn’t played in a year, so we were worried about our skills and if we could keep up with other teams, but we definitely can and it’s been great playing again,” Phillips said.
The NCS girls are ranked second in B.C., but they haven’t faced any of the province’s top teams.
“We’re going to have to put in a lot of effort and try our best,” Phillips said.
The Trail Blazers boys, ranked fourth in B.C., have considered themselves contenders from the get-go, and have so far been able to rise to the standards they’ve set for themselves.
“This is the dream team,” said captain Cole Libbus. “Starting in junior [through] to senior, I knew that this would be the strongest team that we’d have.”
The NCS boys showed toughness at Islands, as they had had a great practice prior to the planned tournament dates, then had to try to lift themselves back to that level a second time when the tourney started for real.
“When it came to game day, we performed,” Libbus said, adding that the team built its game plan around passing to the players who were “really swinging” and placed the ball smartly into the corners. Power hitter Austin Wilson was chosen MVP of Islands.
The Trail Blazers boys are hosting provincials Dec. 9-11 and being the host team brings both motivation and pressure, Libbus said.
“I hope that it encourages us to perform even better since it’s in our own gym…” he said. “A little nervous because we have to perform. It is our gym. We have to show [opponents] that they’re coming to our house. We’ve got to destroy them – or play our best, at least.”
The NCS senior girls are coached by Pat Morley and the senior boys are coached by Alex Tanaka and Troy Libbus.