Nanaimo District Islanders player Jenna Falkenberg serves the volleyball during practice Thursday night at the Nanaimo District Secondary School gymnasium. The senior AAA team begins provincial championships on Thursday (Dec. 1) in Kelowna.

Nanaimo District Islanders player Jenna Falkenberg serves the volleyball during practice Thursday night at the Nanaimo District Secondary School gymnasium. The senior AAA team begins provincial championships on Thursday (Dec. 1) in Kelowna.

NDSS Islanders girls peaking for provincials

The NDSS Islanders senior AAA girls’ volleyball team placed third at Islands to advance to the B.C. championships.

Provincials were always part of the plan.

The NDSS Islanders’ plan came to fruition this month as the senior AAA girls’ volleyball team placed third at Islands to advance to the B.C. championships starting Thursday (Dec. 1) in Kelowna.

Nanaimo District knew it had its work cut out early this season, but the players were ready and willing to put in the work and now they get to extend volleyball season to its limits.

“All season, I knew that it could happen,” said Meghan Carver, the team’s coach. “It was just whether they were going to show up and do their best and they did; they played their best.”

Nanaimo defeated the Isfeld Ice in straight sets in the third-place game at Islands Nov. 19 at St. Michaels University School, 26-24, 25-15, 25-19.

Laura Greene, NDSS captain, said team cohesion and communication were strengths at Islands.

“I was really impressed with our performance…” she said. “Throughout the season we’ve really been moulding more as a team and I think that really came into play at Islands. Everyone was doing their part.”

Kierra Anderson, who was chosen tournament MVP, credited some of the same factors in ND’s success.

“We worked really well as a team together, and unlike other tournaments we had been in, we brought a lot more communication to it and more positivity and once we had that, we really improved,” she said.

Her MVP award was noteworthy considering that she is one of two players on the team who enrolled at Nanaimo District Secondary School in 2016-17 due to the closure of Woodlands Secondary School. Volleyball has helped with the transition to a new high school, she said.

Now, the NDSS Islanders, all one team, get to end the season the way they’d planned and the way they wanted.

“I thought it was really important for us to have a conclusion,” Anderson said. “That’s what we worked for all season, the chance of going [to provincials]. As long as we have a positive mindset and we’re working all together as a team, I think we should be able to do a good job.”

The Isles are seeded No. 9 and they want to be competitive, among other goals.

“For us, being successful is about having fun, working hard and enjoying the passion and the hard work that they put in,” Carver said. “That’s what we want them to get out of it.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com