The Langley Christian Lightning lived up to their No. 1 ranking at the B.C. high school junior girls volleyball championships.
The Lightning continued their season-long run of success by winning the provincial title at Deltaâ€™s Seaquam Secondary last weekend.
Langley Christianâ€™s final game of the season was arguably its toughest, as it battled to a three-set win over Abbotsfordâ€™s MEI Eagles in the gold-medal matchup.
It was the crowning touch on a fine B.C. championships for the Lightning, who defeated St. Thomas More, Duchess Park, and Vancouver Technical in pool play, got by Lord Tweedsmuir in three sets in the quarterfinal, and swept the Kelowna Owls in two sets in the semifinal.
Lightning Grade 10 setter Olivia Heinen was named tournament MVP, while middle Jayden Bontkes and power Morgan Hindy earned first team all-star selections.
Lightning head coach Lisa Bontkes said the Lightning players have had each otherâ€™s backs all season.
â€œThese girls have been playing together since Grade 3; I have coached them for eight years in both school and club and theyâ€™ve put in thousands of hours,â€ Bontkes said. â€œThey are a close knit group that works hard. Theyâ€™re kind hearted kids, with no fear of making mistakes on this team because they support each other. Even if itâ€™s the last point of a very important game, thereâ€™s no fear of making mistakes because thereâ€™s no repercussions for it, therefore theyâ€™re willing to take risks. The only way to improve, is if youâ€™re willing to take risks.â€
The impressive amount of skill on display by both teams in the provincial final was great to see, Bontkes noted.
â€œI had many people come up to me and say that theyâ€™ve never seen a junior final with such a high level of volleyball,â€ Bontkes said. â€œMEI is just an excellent team and either team would have deserved to win. We just happened to come out on top.â€
The Lightningâ€™s B.C. title triumph, on Saturday, Nov. 22, happened to fall on the head coachâ€™s birthday.
â€œI couldnâ€™t ask for a better birthday present,â€ Bontkes said.
The B.C. champion Lightning include coaches Lisa Bontkes and Kara Davis, and players Emma Hansen, Jayden Bontkes, Morgan Hindy, Corina Beimers, Savannah Caterino-Leger, Olivia Heinen, Leah Roersma, Katelyn Mallette, Hannah Krepp, and Liesl VanWyk.