Through the pool play, LFA absolutely was untouchable. Despite playing some excellent teams, LFA dispatched GW Graham (25-7, 25-13), South Kamloops (25-17, 25-20), and Hugh McRoberts (25-15, 25-19) with clinical volleyball that never left the outcome in doubt.
Moving into the quarter-finals, LFA’s top rank drew them against Charles Hays, who they overcame in straight sets (25-9, 25-9, 25-15). Going in to Saturday morning, the team had yet to face adversity and seemed to be firing on all cylinders. However, against a determined W.L. Seaton Sonics team in the semi-finals, things suddenly did not go as planned. LFA played good volleyball, but the Vernon, BC team was playing great volleyball and the Angels found themselves down 2-0 and their dreams of a Provincial Championship game were suddenly on the brink.
Coach Ballard, explained: “I told them to just calm down and play volleyball. The other team was playing fabulous so if we just stayed patient and played the way we played, nine times out of 10, I expect my team to be able to win.” In the end, he said, “I told them we have beaten teams 3-0 before, now we just have to do that.”
Goodness, did they respond. Ballard was overjoyed with the response, commenting how “gritty” the comeback had been. They delivered six incredibly dominant sets in a highly emotional comeback that will stick in the consciousness of the athletes and their parents for a long time to come. An improbable win from the brink (15-25,20-25,25-12,25-20,15-8) over the Sonics launched LFA into the finals against a Carihi Tyees’ team that had collected silver at last year’s AAA Provincial Championships.
On the Angel’s championships game, Ballard commented to the Varsity Letters website that, “We kept them off balance with our serve and the biggest thing is we didn’t give them any free points. We sided out, our passing was really good, and we had some solid attacks. Our team is just balanced, we don’t have just one player, we have a lot of players that can make contributions. They are just relentless.”
Riding the momentum of their semi-final win and some relentless volleyball, they never really let Carihi Tyees get going, finishing them off 3-0 (25-22,25-23,25-20) to collect the BC Secondary School Volleyball Provincial AAA Championship for the third time in recent memory. The win goes alongside victories in 2012 and 2016, as well as a collection of second, third and fourth place finishes over the past decade.
Congratulations on a simply superb season and a wonderful achievement!