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Delta Pacers off to volleyball provincials

Delta earns first trip to showcase tournament in over a decade
DSS girls volleyball
Delta Pacers are off to the provincials for the first time in recent memory after falling a five-set thriller to No. 3 McMath Wednesday at the South Fraser AAA Championships.

It’s not how you start the season but rather how you finish and there is no better proof of that than the Delta Pacers senior girls volleyball team.

After opening South Fraser Tier One League play with a 1-3 record, the Pacers have been rolling since, culminating with a second place finish at the South Fraser AAA Championships after a dramatic five-set loss to No. 3 provincially ranked and host McMath in Wednesday’s gold medal match. The result secures Delta its first B.C. tournament berth in at least a decade.

The girls are guided by parent volunteer Grant Hornby. His daughters graduated two years ago and he has continued on with the program. Sam Cates, a 2021 DSS grad, is his assistant coach.

“It’s the hardest working team I have coached in the past seven years at the school,” said a proud Hornby. “Not only are they playing amazing volleyball, they are amazing young ladies with bright futures!”

The host Wildcats spent the entire regular season in the South Fraser Premier League, that includes No. 1 AAAA ranked South Delta, but the Pacers were hardly intimated. The fifth set went right down to the wire with the Wildcats finally prevailing 15-13, in front of a raucous crowd that featured plenty of DSS support too.

It was a steady diet of Richmond competition throughout the tournament, with Delta opening with a 3-1 win over Richmond High, then sweeping previously undefeated McRoberts 3-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final.

The team was led by senior Greta Palvarini and aged up Grade 10 Alex Halket who were both named to the tournament all-star team as outside hitters.

The DSS roster also features Kennedy Ainge, Nicola Bolton, Bree Campbell, Marley Day, Luna Kurokawa, Hailey-Jayde Lane, Jordyn Li, Keira MacLennan, Saiya Mann, Kaitlyn Morris, Tahnee Sato-Klemm, Angelina Smit, Alexandra Sy, Sophie Tate, Lara TerraDeAndrade, Navaeh Wellington and Sydney Wong.

Hornby added his team’s slow start to the season had more to do with still finalizing his roster when league play commenced.

“With the COVID protocol, we weren’t even sure if we were going to play so I took on 18 players and league play started up very quickly,” he said. “I hadn’t even done my final cuts and we started off playing against two of the best teams.  Those are games we should have won but I’m really proud of where they are now.”

Six straight wins to close out league play and a tournament win at Grandview Heights Secondary in South Surrey late last month were signs of things to come.

The Pacers will take their season to the B.C. AAA Championships, slated for Dec. 2-4, at Crofton House in Vancouver. The tournament may be revised, depending on the travel situation for some of the out-of-town teams.