VANCOUVER — Even though they are the defending B.C. champions at the province’s highest tier and expected to open at No. 1 atop the first Quad-A Top 10 poll of the season, the Kelowna Owls senior girls volleyball team has still got its own script to write this season.
“Our prime objective last weekend was to build confidence and the best way to do that was to guarantee that we all put in our best effort,” Owls head coach Kelly Hettinga said Tuesday when asked to reflect on his team’s championship title at the season-opening, two-day UBC Mizuno Invitational played on the Point Grey campus last Friday and Saturday.
“It was important to us that we came away from the weekend with that theme,” continued Hettinga, whose team topped North Vancouver’s Handsworth Royals 2-0 (25-17, 25-21) in the title tilt at historic War Memorial Gymnasium, home of the tourney hosts and defending national U Sport champion Thunderbirds women’s program. “Everyone was going to play at least two positions over the weekend and everyone was going to get exposure so we could see who responded best in certain spots, and who plays well under pressure.”
There is at least the usual amount of early-season schematic reconfiguration for Hettinga and Co., as a deep Owls title team from 2018 returned just four core members from last season.
With B.C. tourney MVP Sarah Hall a part of the graduating class, it will be up to the likes of the versatile front-row southpaw Sophie LaChapelle, Madelyn Hettinga (LS/middle), Amelia Anderson (middle) and Hannah Green (setter).
The Owls defeated Lake Country’s George Elliott Coyotes 2-0 in the semifinal round.
Last season, the Owls closed out an incredible 2018 campaign by defeating the favoured, two-time defending champion Belmont Bulldogs of Victoria 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-23) in the title clash at Penticton.
Also crowned over this past weekend at UBC: Port Coquitlam’s Riverside Rapids were champions of the White Division, Mill Bay’s Brentwood College champs of the Consolation Division, and the Mission Roadrunners champs of the Blue Division.
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