The Riverside Rapids take a championship selfie after winning the senior AAAA girls’ B.C. final at Dover Bay Secondary School on Saturday, Dec. 11. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

The Riverside Rapids take a championship selfie after winning the senior AAAA girls’ B.C. final at Dover Bay Secondary School on Saturday, Dec. 11. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Riverside wins senior AAAA girls’ provincial volleyball championship in Nanaimo

Riverside beats South Delta in five sets, NDSS places fourth

A team that knows how to win together did exactly that in the biggest moment of the biggest match of the season.

The Riverside Rapids from Port Coquitlam won the senior AAAA girls’ B.C. championship on Saturday at Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Secondary School, defeating the top-ranked South Delta Sun Devils in five sets.

The Devils led two sets to one in the final, but the Rapids turned the match around to win 25-17, 15-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-9.

“We fought so hard and we worked so hard all season to get here and I think this match really showed how much grit we have,” said Emily Wezeman, Riverside team captain. “Even when we were down, we fought our way back up and I think that really shows the Rapid way.”

The core of the Riverside team has captured three provincial championships, winning in their Grade 9 and 10 seasons, having their Grade 11 season cancelled due to COVID-19, and now finishing their Grade 12 season as champions again.

“This team knows how to win and come back and they’re just a very special group of young women,” said Bryan Gee, Riverside coach.

He said both his Rapids team and the opposition Sun Devils played exceptional volleyball in the provincial final.

“Both teams are very highly skilled and the rallies were long and the level of play was very, very high,” Gee said. “So to beat a South Delta team like this, I’m really impressed by their resiliency.”

He said his team served tough as the match went on, floating serves into open space and creating problems for the Sun Devils’ serve-receive. Aside from executing the game plan, Wezeman said in those key moments, the Rapids were thinking of each other.

“This is our last game for the seniors. We just wanted it so bad…” she said. “That championship mindset really brought us together.”

Riverside’s Annika Trask was chosen tournament MVP and her teammates Wezeman and Jayden Armstrong were selected first-team all-stars. Other first-team all-stars were South Delta’s Jane McDonald and Mackenzie Campbell, Nanaimo District’s Tianna Kehler and Kelowna’s Abby Hettinga.

Second-team all-stars were Riverside’s Lauren Way, South Delta’s Myah Cressy, NDSS’ Alannah Wright, Seaquam’s Simran Rai, Mt. Boucherie’s Kirsten Hill and Pinetree’s Megan Jones.

Kelowna’s Taryn Hope was chosen the tournament’s top libero.

The Kelowna Owls defeated the NDSS Islanders in straight sets in the bronze-medal game and the host Dover Bay Dolphins placed 12th.

RELATED: Volleyball provincials served up at Nanaimo gyms



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South Delta Sun Devils player Jane McDonald bumps the ball during Saturday’s senior AAAA girls’ provincial volleyball final at Dover Bay Secondary School. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

South Delta Sun Devils player Jane McDonald bumps the ball during Saturday’s senior AAAA girls’ provincial volleyball final at Dover Bay Secondary School. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Riverside Rapids teammates Emily Wezeman, front, and Nicole Hughes make a block during Saturday’s senior AAAA girls’ provincial volleyball final at Dover Bay Secondary School. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Riverside Rapids teammates Emily Wezeman, front, and Nicole Hughes make a block during Saturday’s senior AAAA girls’ provincial volleyball final at Dover Bay Secondary School. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)