In more than 35 years of coaching, Ritchie Mallari has never seen a team come together the way the R.E. Mountain junior girls Eagles volleyball team has.
A newly-formed team with little previous experience in playing organized, top-level competitive volleyball, the Eagles finished their second season undefeated at the Langley district level, took silver in the Valleys regionals and finished fifth province-wide.
“It was phenomenal,” Mallari remarked.
“One of the top seasons I’ve ever had.”
He described the Eagles as a “truly good” defensive team, with a “fun and potent” offensive capability.
“Many times teams did not know where attacks were coming from,” Mallari recalled.
He described how there would be moments in a game when it would look like the Eagles were in trouble, and they would come through.
“It was beautiful to watch,” Mallari enthused.
“They could be down 15 points and still come back.”
After their first season, when Eagles had a fourth-place district finish and didn’t make it to the Fraser Valleys, the team set its sights on achieving specific goals for the season.
Included on the list was qualifying for the provincials, finishing top four in the Valleys regional competition, finishing top two in the district.
One by one, they checked off every one.
They didn’t lose a set during district play, won silver at the Valleys and finished fifth provincially.
As Grade 10 players, the team has two more years of competition before they all graduate.
Mallari is looking forward to the 2020 season.
“It’ll be a fun year.”