What was accomplished by South Delta secondary athletic teams this fall will seem even more impressive a decade from now.
The senior girls volleyball team's provincial triumph in Penticton last weekend capped an outstanding fall season that saw three teams contending for championships. The football Sun Devils bowed out in the semi-finals, while the field hockey squad reached the gold medal game before falling to defending champion Handsworth. It was almost unthinkable years earlier to suggest the talent level among senior age girls at the Tsawwassen school was deep enough for two teams to reach the championship game of their respective sports at the same time of the year.
It wasn't long ago, SDSS senior girls volleyball coach Dan Burgess was searching high and low just to come up with enough players to put a team on the floor.
"This is definitely a golden era at our school right now," said Burgess. "It's something we are going to be looking back at years from now and realize just how special it was." Thanks to a dedicated outside coach in Neil McLennan and the club program offered by the Delta Falcons, the field hockey team will continue to be a regular participant at provincial tournaments.
With seven players expected to return next season, including dynamic Grade 11 twins Megan and Nicole McNamara, the Sun Devils should be in position to take a serious run at winning three straight B.C. AAAA volleyball championships. Beyond 2014, South Delta will likely take a step back but not to the dark days of Burgess' earlier years at the school.
"The interesting thing is the program has been building each year since we won the junior provincials (three years ago)," he said. "The success is drawing more girls to volleyball.
"The Grade 8s coming into the school are realizing what it takes to be successful. "They are doing (Richmond Olympic) Oval (development) program and playing on club teams. So instead of having 10 girls show up for tryouts and all make the team, 20 are coming out and over half play club volleyball."