They might have been on the outside looking in, but the South Delta Sun Devils certainly made a worthy case of being among the top Grade 9 girls volleyball teams in the province this season.
The 2019 campaign ended in disappointment when the Sun Devils were not given a wild card berth for the recent provincial championships in Surrey. Even though the tournament had a selection process it is an invitational and not sanctioned by B.C. School Sports.
The Sun Devils won the Delta championship and finished second to McMath in the inaugural South Fraser playoffs that featured the top schools from Richmond, Delta and Surrey. Throw in tournament play as well and coach Kevin McGregor figured his squad was among the top five in B.C.
“We had beaten the Surrey #1, we had beaten the Okanagan #1, we were one of a few teams to take a set off of McMath. I told the girls with each accomplishment, that that should get us in. I didn't see how we would not get one of the two wildcards that were available,” he explained.
Instead the two wild card spots were given to No. 2 independent Notre Dame and Okanagan runner-up Mt. Boucherie.
“I have not been able to give the girls or their parents an answer as to why we didn't get in other than it is an invitational, even though there were qualifications which included city champions such Surrey, North Van, Vancouver, but not Delta,” continued McGregor. “Last I checked South Delta, Seaquam and Delta Secondary are known to have some pretty good volleyball teams.”
The disappointment hardly dampens McGregor’s enthusiasm about the group that he decided to come down from the junior level to work with, along with community coach Alysha Deslippe.
Typically each year, three or four Grade 9 players have the talent to play at the junior level, but McGregor saw as many as 10 after watching last spring’s U14 provincial club championships.
Five of them were selected to Volleyball B.C.’s four-day Baden Cup development camp.
“This group will be a force in junior next year. Seven of the 11 girls are playing club together with Team Performance (in South Surrey). Two others are with Rain City,” added McGregor. “They will have a chip on their shoulder from being overlooked this year. I promise to take them around the province to make sure they are not overlooked again.”
The team included: Myah Cressy, Bianka Filc, Jade Glicksohn, Georgia Jacobsen, Isabella Jaramillo, Georgia Kwiatkowski, Esther Lim, Tayah Meehan, Hailey Nelson, Rachel Rosser, Anna Tanaka, Issi Sherritt, Amely Vorontsov and Anna Yamaleev.