The NDSS Islanders are Island champions on the volleyball court.
Nanaimo District Secondary School’s senior AAAA girls’ volleyball team won the Vancouver Island championship on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Dover Bay Secondary School gym, defeating the Mt. Douglas Rams in five sets, 19-25, 25-17, 25-18, 18-25, 15-2.
“Five sets, you can’t ask for anything better in an Island final,” said Maggie Wood, Islanders captain.
NDSS had finished as runners-up to the Dover Bay Dolphins at North Islands, and at Islands, ND started the tournament with a loss against Mt. Doug. But the players knew they had what it took to reach their goal.
“We wanted it so bad,” Wood said. “All the girls knew after we got second at North Islands, we knew this was what we really wanted. This mattered so much to all of us.”
The Rams winning the fourth set in the final could have been a momentum changer, but the Islanders made sure that wasn’t the case. Wood said all season, the team practised to prepare for the exact situation of playing in a fifth-set to 15 points. The captain’s serving reached another level in that fifth set and the opponents simply couldn’t handle it.
Islanders coach Ryan Orton said his team played “like a bunch of champions” in the final, and were also “unbelievable” in the semifinal, a straight-sets win versus Claremont.
“It just seemed to be that they had the right attitude, energy and effort and the team played well, everyone,” Orton said. “It’s pretty rare as a coach you get everyone on your team playing well all at the same time.”
Wood was selected tournament MVP and her teammates Avery Henderson and Beth Kerridge were chosen as all-stars. Dover Bay’s Jaidy Van Duist also made the tournament all-star team.
NDSS, Mt. Doug and Claremont all advance to provincials starting Nov. 30 in Delta, with fourth-place Dover narrowly missing out.
“We’re going to do our best to represent the Island well,” Wood said. “I think this is a really strong group with a lot of potential to do well at provincials.”