Yukon’s Sub Zero Blizzards created a buzz at the B.C. Provincial Volleyball Championships over the weekend in Abbotsford.
The scuttlebutt sounded a lot like, “Watch out for that Yukon team.”
“These boys just gelled really well together,” said Blizzards coach Darryl Peters. “It’s actually the first time I’ve gone down to any of these tournaments and the other teams were worried about us. They were talking about the Yukon team, and that’s nice to see.”
The Blizzards pocketed five wins en route to third place out of 13 teams in U14 boys Division 2.
They captured the bronze in a 16-25, 25-11, 15-12 win over Abbotsford’s OVC Lions.
“They had to calm down and try to pull it together and play as a team, as they did the day before,” said Blizzards coach Mike Bernier. “Some of the players I didn’t expect to play as much stepped up and carried the team.
“Everybody pitched in, including some of the weaker guys who really stepped up and helped out a lot.”
“Nathan Abel was one of the young players who was in the lower end of our group and he stepped up,” said Peters. “Our top player was Adrian Robinson. He served seven or eight serves in a row and played well.
“I was really impressed with the lower-end players stepping up their game.”
The Blizzards went undefeated in four round-robin matches to place first with wins over the Kelowna Kaboom, Richmond’s Air Attack Gold, Surrey’s Seaside Storm and Burnaby’s Focus Stealth.
With their undefeated record they received a bye into the Division 2 semifinal where they lost 26-24, 25-27, 15-10 to Richmond’s Air Attack Black and were sent to the bronze game.
“They were shocked we didn’t make it to the final,” said Peters. “We didn’t play as well as we were and got upset.”
Before they were fighting for hardware, the team spent much of the season fighting for gym time. They missed a lot of practice as availability at school gymnasiums became scarce.
“We’ve been practising on and off since the beginning of January,” said Bernier. “A lot of practices were cancelled due to other user groups using the gym.
“I was a little skeptical about going because, like I said, lots of practice time was cancelled … but the team pulled it together and they played quite well. They went quite farther than I expected.”
The Blizzards was one of three Sub Zero rep teams to compete at the provincials.
Yukon was also represented by Sub Zero Ice and Sub Zero Frostbite in the U14 girls championship.
Both teams went winless in their round robins. Sub Zero Ice secured one playoff win and placed 14th out of 16 teams in Division 3. Frostbite failed to get a win and dropped to 12th in Division 4.
“As a coach I’m very happy, I’m impressed with the way they played,” added Bernier of the Blizzards. “They surprised me with how they pulled it together with this being their first year and having not as many practices as we should have had.”
“It’s their first trip, they’re getting a taste of volleyball, and these kids are pretty excited coming home now and they all want more of it, which is what we want to see,” said Peters.
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