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Pacers crowned South Fraser Grade 8 volleyball champs

Talented boys team delivers Ladner school its first banner in new zone

It didn’t take long to understand how much last Wednesday's big win by the Delta Pacers at the South Fraser Grade 8 Boys Volleyball Championships meant to their head coach.

Andrew Robson broke down in tears while telling his players how proud he was of them for delivering the Ladner school its first-ever South Fraser banner following an impressive straight-set (3-0) win over the Pacific Academy Breakers. The triumph culminated a perfect two-day run at the eight-team tournament held at the new Grandview Heights Secondary school in South Surrey.

Robson is not only a DSS teacher, but a grad himself who has poured endless volunteer hours into the program to help take it to the next level and ultimately attempt to deliver the school its first provincial volleyball title. That also includes coaching the senior boys team and running the locally-based Element Volleyball Club, an essential ingredient to having success at the elite level.

“I think (this win) is a product of guys who have worked hard in previous years. A product of being their younger brothers. It’s also a product of the club system,” said Robson. “It doesn’t happen if we don’t have the guys who came before that paved the way. I’m going to tear up again if I talk about it too much.

“It’s the grassroots stuff. We had four or five kids that did play club. Another four or five who have done camps in the summer and we also just have athletes that came in and all were able to thrive within that.”

The Pacers’ all-round talent was evident with passing, setting and serving beyond their years in the title game.

“Some of the kids that aren’t on the floor, in normal years, would be our best players,” continued Robson. “We pulled our hair out in making (roster) decisions of just trying to come up with what would be the best fit. Even on the last day (of the season) we had two kids that (went to a baseball tournament in Las Vegas) and we ended playing a kid in a different position than he has played all year and he ended up doing an awesome job. It’s just a really resilient group. They are not afraid at the moment.”

Arshaan Bilga earned MVP honours while teammates Leo Ortiz and Brendan Sas were named all-stars. The Pacers roster also featured Levi Sadlo, Noah Murray, Chase Wilson, Josh Grund, Ethan Vanmarrewyk, Alexi Boufeas, Matt McQuade, Connor Fischer, Matt Wigglesworth and Sean Jones.

Robson's senior boys team is seeded sixth for the South Fraser AAA Volleyball Championships that get underway on Tuesday in Richmond with a quarter-final date with host Steveston-London.