No team ever likes to lose, but sometimes a well-timed defeat can serve a greater purpose.
That was the case with the Credo Christian Kodiaks as the senior boys volleyball team shook off a loss at the opening game of the BC Single A provincial championships to win seven straight matches and capture the gold medal.
The opponent in their first and last games was the Vernon Christian Royals, as the two teams squared off for provincial glory on Saturday in Kamloops. The championships were held at the Tournament Capital Centre and Thompson Rivers University.
“We were a little asleep to be honest,” said Credo coach Peter Vanbrederode about a 2-0 loss to Vernon Christian in the first match on opening day. “We didn’t play a sharp game at all. It was a pretty good wake-up call for the guys.”
“The old adage is you don’t want to run the table in provincials because it is really unlikely, so you might as well get a loss out of the way. It is kind of a funny way to look at it,” the coach explained.
“It is a little tough to keep it up for that many games — Vernon didn’t lose a single game until the final.”
The Kodiaks shook off that opening loss at provincials to win their next four matches — including a 2-1 win over the top-seed Centennial Christian School Seahawks — for a 4-1 record in pool play.
In the quarter-finals, they blanked Kelowna 3-0 and then beat the host St. Ann’s Academy Crusaders 3-1 in the semifinals, setting up a showdown with the Royals for gold.
Including that first match at provincials, Vernon Christian was a perfect 3-0 against the Kodiaks.
But in Saturday’s final, Credo Christian prevailed in a tight four-set match 3-1. The teams traded the first two sets, with the Kodiaks winning 25-15 and the Royals evening the match 1-1 with a 25-18 victory. Sets three and four were both tight but each finished 26-24 in favour of Credo Christian.
Damon Flokstra, the team’s setter, did a great job of running the team’s attack and was named most valuable player.
Two of the team’s powers, Ryan Togeretz and Reuben Sikma, were named first and second team all-stars, respectively, and Anthony Vanderstoep was the top libero.
This is Vanbrederode’s first year with the Kodiaks.
“The former coach (Stan De Haan) did a really good job of keeping the program at a pretty high level,” Vanbrederode said. “It wasn’t like the cupboard was bare — we got some really good players we were able to work with.”
The coach said he knew the team had talent, but it is tough to gauge where they are compared to the competitors, as they don’t see a lot of the teams until provincials.
The Kodiaks will graduate four of their starters, but Vanbrederode is optimistic the team will continue to contend for provincial gold with some strong players set to join the senior ranks.