LANGLEY — Nothing about it went the way Brodie Hofer had planned it, nothing except for the ending.
And when it was all over Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre, after his Langley Christian Lightning had repeated as B.C. senior boys AA volleyball champions with a hard-fought straight-sets (25-17, 25-15, 25-22) sweep over the Abbotsford Christian Falcons, the kid who had almost lost his entire senior season to a freak household accident, found his greatest joy in the ways his teammates lifted their own games and became better players over his extended absence.
“I saw guys stepping up into roles that they weren’t altogether comfortable with and you could see that they got better as the season went along,” said Hofer, the talented left side hitter who during the off-season broke two of his toes and was only able to join the Lighting in their B.C. repeat bid about four weeks ago.
“They battled through a troublesome space and they got better, they learned to perform at an even higher level,” continued the Trinity Western University recruit. “It was the perfect, storybook-ending. There was nothing that could have topped it. We reached the summit and for me to be able to come back and share that with my team was unforgettable.”
ALWAYS ON THE CHASE
It has been a kind of well-kept secret in the B.C. volleyball world as to just how Hofer torpedoed the first nine weeks of his senior season.
For the record, the Hofer’s family dog Bentley has a habit of greeting everyone with a sock in his mouth and a dare of ‘come and get me’.
It’s a dare that Brodie Hofer still can’t fully resist.
In August, barreling after Bentley on the slick wooden floors of their home, Hofer wiped out navigating a sharp turn.
“It was initially misdiagnosed as one broken toe,” says Carol Hofer, Brodie’s mom and the team’s head coach, “so he came back early and re-injured it. It was nice for him to be able to come back and it was amazing to see how a couple of the players really stepped up and rose to the occasion in his absence.”
Grade 11 Caleb Kastelein, who moved to the left side of the attack to fill Hofer’s shoes, brought his game to a new level and maintained it after moving back to the right side at the end of the season.
As well, Trevor Koch, a senior, saw his game blossom along the front row with the added responsibility.
A CHAMPIONSHIP PAGE-TURNER
Saturday’s victory was actually the third straight provincial title for the talented group, a string which began with the 2015 B.C. junior varsity title.
Langley Christian opened the championship bracket with 3-0 wins over both Smithers and MEI, but in the semifinals needed four sets (28-26, 25-20, 25-27, 25-21) to get by Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors.
For Carol Hofer, Saturday’s championship win represented an incredible three-year run, and in many ways, was the closing of a chapter.
“There are eight boys here that have been together since Grade 10 and it definitely does feel that way,” she said. “For me, I won’t be coaching the senior team next year. I am not sure where I’ll be but maybe with the Grade 7s.”
It’s a matter of directing her energy where it’s most needed.
Carol Hofer’s son Zachary will be in Grade 7 next season, while her son Tyson will be playing on the junior team as he enters Grade 10.
Other seniors on the team this season’s championship senior team included Matthias Dahl who was picked the tourney’s top libero, Rylan Gehrer, Kevin Yang, Jeremiah Macadam and Peyton Grim.
“It was so much fun coaching them,” said Carol Hofer. “I am so proud of these boys and they were all best friends. And that is a pretty neat way to experience high school together.”
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