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South Delta falls to Riverside in 5-set provincial final thriller

Sun Devils enjoy their best B.C. finish since 2014
A memorable three days in Nanaimo for the South Delta Sun Devils concluded with a provincial silver medal after a heartbreaking 5-set loss to Riverside in Saturday's championship match.

A terrific season-long rivalry concluded at the B.C. AAAA Girls Volleyball Championships in Nanaimo with the South Delta Sun Devils just points away from securing their fourth provincial banner in school history.

South Delta concluded its best campaign in seven years with a heartbreaking five-set loss to the Riverside Rapids on Saturday at Dover Bay Secondary. It marked the second time this season the teams have met in a tournament final with the Sun Devils prevailing at last month’s Red Serge Classic that was hosted by Riverside.

This time, the Port Coquitlam school persevered, overcoming a 2-1 set deficit and a match point to pull out a 25-17, 15-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-9 victory.

South Delta led 24-23 in set four when the Rapids reeled off three unanswered points to send the gold medal match to a deciding set.

It was only fitting there were plenty more momentum swings to come between the province’s top two ranked teams with the Devils opening up a 3-0 fifth set lead and Riverside replying to take an 8-5 advantage. That’s when head coach Dan Burgess called a timeout and his girls responded with four unanswered points.

It was the Rapids’ turn to regroup and they came out of their own timeout to play flawless defence — digging out and blocking everything — to score the match’s final seven points.

Earlier, the Sun Devils steamrolled into the championship match with six straight wins and not dropping a single set along the way including a 25-20, 25-19 and 25-17 victory over eventual bronze medalist Kelowna in Saturday morning’s semi-final. The run also included playoff wins over Terry Fox (3-0) and RE Mountain of Langley (3-0).

Senior Jane McDonald joined Grade 11s Myah Cressy and Mackenzie Campbell as tournament all-stars.

South Delta’s last provincial triumph was back in 2014 — its third straight behind twins Megan and Nicole McNamara who went on to enjoy All-American beach volleyball careers at UCLA.

The future is bright for the SDSS program with a group of talented Grade 11s returning in 2022 and plenty of promise at the Junior, Grade 9 and Grade 8 levels too.

In Vancouver, the Delta Pacers senior girls team concluded its best season in over a decade with a seventh place finish at the B.C. AAA Championships, hosted by Crofton House.

The Pacers earned a quarter-final berth, before falling to eventual champion Mt. Doug. The girls closed out the tournament with a win over Richmond’s McMath, avenging a five-set loss three weeks earlier in the South Fraser final.