The Langley Christian Lightning junior girls were able to put a stop to the Walnut Grove Gators on Thursday.
In the final three sets of Thursday’s Langley District championship game at Langley Events Centre, the Lightning would build a multi-point lead, but the Gators would come back every time, making Langley Christian fight for every point.
In the end, the LCS took home the District championship trophy after a short one-year absence, marking their fifth title in the past six years, 3-2.
“They really had to fight for this one,” said Lightning coach Laura Folkerts.
“Walnut Grove brought their ‘A’ game. We just had to battle, we had to keep swinging.”
The teams split the first two sets with LCS winning 25-19 before Walnut Grove took set two 25-21. The Lightning raced out to an early lead in the third set, 8-1 but the Gators didn’t panic, clawing their way back and prevailing 25-23.
The fourth set saw Langley Christian stay alive 25-22 and then jump out to a 5-0 lead in the decisive fifth set. To their credit, Walnut Grove rallied back to go ahead 13-12 before the Lightning regrouped to score the final three points for the 15-13 victory.
The Gators were ranked second for the playoffs after a 7-1 regular season, their lone loss being a 3-1 defeat to LCS a few weeks back.
“They have worked on their serving and had some amazing serves,” Folkerts said about their opponent. “They caught us in a few rotations of service receive that we struggled with.”
Both LCS and Walnut Grove will now compete at the upcoming Fraser Valley championships. They will be joined by the Langley Fundamental Titans, who won 3-0 over the Mountain Eagles to finish third at the District championships.
While the junior girls final went the distance, the junior boys Langley District championship game was a 3-0 sweep for the top-ranked Langley Christian Lightning.
The Lightning (5-0) won 25-21, 25-19 and 25-15 over the No. 2 Langley Fundamental Titans (4-1).
It was the third title in the past four years for LCS, which was runner-up in 2017.
LCS coach Eric Van Huizen said the handful of players who were on last year’s second-place squad didn’t mention coming close the year before during the season.
“They didn’t talk about it much but they wanted to win the district championship,” he said. “We have a well-rounded group of kids with lots of talent. The goal was to win districts and see what happens after that.”
Both Langley Christian and Langley Fundamental will now compete at the Fraser Valley championships.