Langley Christian player Caleb Kastelein in mid-air (he was awarded 1st Team All-Star for the tournament). The team took bronze at the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships. Photo courtesy Paul Yates Vancouver Sports Pictures

Fraser Valley teams dominate Kahunaverse volleyball championships

Langley Christian takes bronze

Fraser Valley teams continued their dominant run at the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships, only this time it was a new team taking home the top prize.

The Abbotsford Christian Knights, seeded sixth for the 16-team championships, defeated the No. 1 George Elliot (Lake Country) Coyotes 3-1 in Saturday’s AA championship final at Langley Events Centre.

Fraser Valley teams have won seven straight and 12 of the past 13 AA championships but this marks the first at the AA level in the Knights history. The program did win a Single A banner earlier this decade.

In Saturday’s final, the teams split the first two sets with the Coyotes winning 28-26 while the Knights prevailed 25-23. George Elliot was up 8-2 and 13-7 in the third set but Abby Christian went on a run, taking the set 25-21 and then carrying that momentum to a 25-18 victory to capture the title.

“I told them it is not our day to quit playing no matter what because we have done that in the past (where) we have chose to stop playing,” said Abbotsford Christian coach Anthony Jansen. “This is an opportunity to not quit and keep fighting and that is what got us through the game.”

“They ran out of gas and got a little nervous. A couple of the key guys were not their regular selves. They were probably overthinking things a little bit rather than just letting themselves flow out there,” said coach Chris Frehlick. “They have nothing to be ashamed of.”

The victory caps off an up-and-down season for the Knights with the coach admitting the team has struggled both physically and emotionally.

And just before the provincial tournament, the Knights lost back-to-back games to finish fourth at the Fraser Valley championships.

“Our team has had a rough couple of weeks, so confidence has been a big issue for us,” he said. “Being healthy both physically and emotionally makes a world of difference.”

Knights star Cole Brandsma – who was named most outstanding player — said his team needed to up its energy level and they were able to accomplish that.

“It has been a rollercoaster of a season and we realized it was our last chance and we were able to bring it,” he said.

READ ALSO: Langley Christian Lightning looks for a third consecutive championship

In the bronze medal game earlier that day, Langley Christian defeated Prince George’s College Heights Cougars 3-0. The Knights defeated Langley Christian 3-1 in the semifinals the night before while the Coyotes outlasted the Cougars 3-2 in the other semifinal.

All-star awards

Langley Christian’s Ethan Visscher was the top libero and College Heights was named the most sportsmanlike team.

The first team all-stars were Matthew Shand (College Heights), Jackson Klaassen (MEI), Roan McCarthy (George Elliot), Jonas Van Huizen (Langley Christian), Caleb Kastelein (Langley Christian) and Matthew Darley (George Elliot).

Chatwin Denton (Prince Charles), Jackson Campbell (Richmond Christian), Jackson Stephens (Surrey Christian), Dayton O’Neill (College Heights), Connor Piers (Abbotsford Christian) and Brendan Visser (Abbotsford Christian) were named second team all-stars.

Langley Christian’s Ethan Visscher was the top libero and College Heights was named the most sportsmanlike team.

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Langley Lightning player Evan Vanderveen (No. 4) takes on a George Elliot rival during early play at the Kahunaverse Sports BC Volleyball Championships. Black Press photo

Photo courtesy Paul Yates Vancouver Sports Pictures

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