Members of the Mount Sentinel senior girls volleyball team are finding a silver lining in their silver medal. The South Slocan team finished second Saturday at the A high school provincials, dropping the final in three games to Osoyoos, 25-20, 25-20, 25-19.
Osoyoos went undefeated through the round robin while Mount Sentinel was 4-and-2 and then beat Fort St. James and Charles Bloom Secondary in the playoff round to advance to the final.
Due to road closures and other problems, only seven teams participated in the tournament, which Mount Sentinel hosted in their own gym and at Selkirk College. The two top ranked teams were not able to make it. Although Mount Sentinel was one of the favourites to win, they were without their leading player, Jaylen Rushton, who sprained her ankle at a tryout camp in Kamloops last week.
Mount Sentinel’s Natasha Holland and Brynn Strelaeff were both named to the tournament all-star team.
Holland says they were very pleased to make it to the final: “We were pretty exhausted but proud of where we came out. We were very nervous and anxious. There were a lot of people in the crowd, which made it even more nerve-wracking, but we were all excited to play and supportive of each other. I think it was our best tournament.”
Strelaeff agreed: “I’m happy with how we did. I had a feeling we’d come out near the top, but I felt we would definitely have some competition. Osoyoos were really good. They were super tall, and looked like a really good team. It was a fun game and I enjoyed it. I hope to play them again some time.”
Fellow teammate Lexi Elias said things were more challenging without Rushton in the lineup, “but we played well under the circumstances.” She said the teams that attended “were still high-calibre. They were all really even, the same skill level. I’m proud of how we did and think we pushed ourselves to our fullest potential.”
Elias notes that while Osoyoos largely had a line up of Grade 12 students, the majority of Mount Sentinel’s team was in Grade 11, with one player in Grade 12, two in Grade 10 (Elias and Strelaeff) and one in Grade 8, giving the school a promising chance next year. She also praised Osoyoos’ effort: “They deserved it.”