The South Delta Sun Devils weren't kidding when they said this season is their best opportunity to win the school's first-ever provincial senior girls volleyball championship.
Since mapping out their expectations back in September, the Sun Devils have been methodically conducting their business with another milestone reached on Wednesday night at the Langley Events Centre.
For the first time in school history, the Sun Devils are Fraser Valley "AAAA" champions after an impressive 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 16-25, 25-21) win over the Heritage Woods Kodiaks. The result came two weeks after they took over the No. 1 spot in the provincial rankings with their win at the Red Surge Classic at Riverside secondary. The Valley triumph also means South Delta has won three tournaments in the last four weeks, dating back to its victory at Pacific Academy.
The only thing left is the provincial "AAAA" championships, slated for two weeks from now in Port Coquitlam where the Sun Devils have clearly established themselves as the team to beat.
Against the No. 3 Kodiaks, they got off to a terrific start and took a commanding two set lead before the Port Moody school was able to extend the match. The Sun Devils opened up a 16-12 lead in game four and that margin would stick the rest of the way.
It was the first time the teams have met since the final of the UBC Tournament two months earlier that saw Heritage Woods prevail in five games.
"The first two games, we looked awesome," said Devils coach Dan Burgess. "But we were pretty confident Heritage wasn't going to just give it to us. We got a little bit of an edge from the first couple of games and made some hay when we could."
The challenge for Burgess and co-coach Sandra Nash was getting their girls to respond after the Kodiaks had swung momentum with an impressive game three performance.
Nash says it was just a matter of getting re-energized after a long day in the classroom and on the volleyball court.
South Delta played its semi-final game against Elgin Park, at 4 p.m. at another venue, and the gold medal match didn't start until nearly 9 p.m.
"My sense was their bodies were just tired," said Nash. "They had to decide they wanted it at that point.
It was a matter of getting over that tiredness and convincing themselves they had it in them to do it."
The tournament all-star awards proved why the Sun Devils considered this year was their best chance to make some noise as Grade 12 setter Emma Robinson was named tournament MVP, while Grade 10 twins Nicole and Megan McNamara were selected as all-stars.
The team also includes: Hunter McLean, Emma Glennon, Carly Johannson, Sheima Rezai, Megan McKenzie, Christine Howlett, Lauren Shirley, Samantha Loiselle, Courtney Bogress, Anika Klassen and junior call-up Cassidy Pearson.