Keeping the latest respiratory virus away from her players is probably a bigger concern for coach Michaela Staller these days than who her next opponent might be.
With just eight players, Staller’s Southpointe Academy senior girls volleyball team is enjoying a fantastic season.
The Titans’ latest accomplishment was winning the South Fraser “A” Championship on their home floor Wednesday night with a 3-2 come-from-behind thriller (22-25, 25-16, 24-26, 25-23, 15-10) over rival Surrey Christian. The near three-hour marathon featured the fifth and sixth ranked teams at the “A” classification, designated for province’s smallest schools.
Both teams are headed to the B.C. “A” Championships, slated for Dec. 1 to 3 at Cedars Christian School in Prince George.
The Titans have also punched well above their weight class all season. The Tsawwassen independent school finished second in the Sur-Del Tier One League with an 8-1 record, getting a steady diet of much larger schools. They also were third at the recent Delta Cup, placing right behind the South Delta Sun Devils and Seaquam Seahawks.
The impressive results reflect the time Staller has put into the program and having to be creative by aging some students up in order to have a senior team.
She is also committed to the sport at the club level, as are most of her players.
“This is the smallest team we have had yet, with three Grade 10s, three Grade 11s and two Grade 12s. Five of the eight play club volleyball and another one used to, so just about everyone’s had some kind of coaching outside of school,” explained Staller. “They are all buying in. We’re just encouraging the kids to stick with it. We also run fun things at the school twice a month for the younger ones just to get them involved.”
Grade 11 left-side hitter Lucie Shaver was named South Fraser MVP while Grade 12 middle Avery Shin and Grade 10 Natalie Longo were selected as all-stars. The team also features Sara Croy, Mariam Hamza, Savanna Chahal, Kitty Song and Louisa Gong.
Staller is unsure what her team is up against at the provincials, having not faced most of the participating teams this season.
“We just haven’t had too many games against other single ‘A’ schools. It’s just the nature of our league (playing against mostly larger schools) although we were fortunate that both Surrey Christian and White Rock Christian opted to play tier one this year as well,” she added. “I do know going into a tournament we will have to play eight games (in three days) with eight kids, so they will be running on fumes. Everyone plays and everyone contributes. It’s been that way all season.”