The South Kamloops Titans celebrate following the final point in their championship game victory over the Abbotsford Christian Knights on Dec. 2 at the BC School Sports 2023 AA Boys Volleyball Championship at Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja photo
By Erick Dominguez
It was a historic night for the South Kamloops Titans, as they captured their first Provincial Volleyball banner after completing a reverse sweep against the Abbotsford Christian Knights.
The Titans got the job done in the finals of the BC School Sports 2023 AA Boys Volleyball Championship on Dec. 2, at Langley Events Centre. The event was hosted by Langley Christian.
After the two opening sets, the Titans found themselves in a hole after dropping both sets to the Knights (26-28, 21-25).
“We knew we could play better … as a team, we moved our blocks in a bit and made them take different shots,” said Noah Henson, outside hitter for the Titans.
“We haven’t had our backs up against the wall very often like that, so it was a bit of a new opportunity, new challenge for us,” said assistant coach Matt Lofgren, “I just told them to stick together, it's the last match of their high school careers and (to) leave it all out there.”
As the Titans looked ahead to the remaining three sets, their coaching staff helped their team stay calm throughout the comeback.
“I was telling them to stay loose, when we play happy … when they are smiling, engaged, good things usually happen for us,” said Lofgren
The Titans would go on to complete their reverse sweep after three dominant sets over the Knights, (20-25, 18-25, 10-15).
While the win marks a milestone for the school's volleyball program, it also holds value to the team, after a tragedy involving three members of the Thompson River University Volleyball team, which left one player dead and two critically injured.
Before the start of the game, The Titans honoured the three players as the team wore customized warmup shirts with the numbers of the three players involved in the crash written on the back.
“We’ve been thinking about the TRU guys back at home this entire time we’ve been down here,” said Lofgren. “We wish we could be back there to support them but I know they are back there supporting us, and wanting us to play our hearts out … we were thinking about them.”
“I’m so glad that we can come back with this showing of pride for Kamloops,” said Huxley Wendland, middle blocker for the Titans.
The head coach of the Titans, Graham MacGregor, would also get to enjoy the championship run and celebration alongside his son, Gavin MacGregor, the setter for the team.
“We started this back in grade five … We’ve had so much fun and what’s a better way to spend all that time with you son....”
After the win, awards for the tournament were handed out, and South Kamloops would have four players receiving honours.
The most outstanding Libero of the competition would be given to Brandon Johnson, while his teammate Alex Howard earned the Most Outstanding Player Award. Three other Titans – Noah Henson, Huxley Wendland and Gavin MacGregor – were named tournament all-stars.
For tournament schedule, results and standings, please click here.