The Langley Christian Lightning senior girls are the Fraser Valley champions after defeating the MEI Eagles.

The Langley Christian Lightning senior girls are the Fraser Valley champions after defeating the MEI Eagles.

Lightning have their eyes on the big prize

Majority of Langley Christian senior girls volleyball team has been playing together for eight years

For the Langley Christian Lightning, there is just one thing left to do.

The senior girls volleyball defeated the MEI Eagles three sets to one in the Fraser Valley 2A championship game on Thursday night. It was the fifth major tournament they have won but they have their eyes on the big prize: capping their time together with a provincial title.

“This is what they have been working eight years towards, winning provincials in their Grade 12 year,” said Langley Christian coach Lisa Bontkes, who has coached the core of the team through high school and with the Airborne Volleyball Club since the Grade 12s were in Grade 4.

“To start off with winning Fraser Valleys was huge and super exciting.”

The Lightning, who have just one loss all season, defeated the Eagles 3-1 in the Fraser Valley final, which was held at Surrey Christian School.

But it wasn’t an easy victory.

After Langley Christian took the opening set 25-20, they lost their starting middle Savannah Caterino-Leger to injury.

The Lightning were forced to move players around, including switching back row specialist Emma Hansen to up front. MEI was able to take the set 25-16 to even the match at one.

Bontkes said the team also had to overcome their concern for their injured teammate. For the third and fourth sets, Grace Wergeland moved up front and the team responded by closing out the match with 25-18 and 25-16 victories.

“They have always had each other’s backs and I think it made us play even stronger together,” Bontkes said.

“In the adversity, they came together and worked harder than ever.”

Olivia Heinen was named most valuable player while Jayden Bontkes and Morgan Hindy were selected all-stars.

Langley Christian had defeated Langley Fundamental in the quarter-finals and then Pacific Academy in the semifinals.

Langley Fundamental will travel to Kelowna on Nov. 26 for a wild-card match and a victory would qualify the Titans for the provincial championships, which run Dec. 1 to 3 at Abbotsford’s MEI Secondary.

The Lightning will look to improve on last year’s seventh place finish at the provincial championships.

“I think we realize now that anything can happen. When you step on the floor, you realize you have to give 100 per cent every time and not take things for granted,” Bontkes said about what her team learned from last year’s experience.

Winning another provincial title would be a great way to cap off their high school careers for the graduating seniors, and the potential is there as the Lightning won the BC junior title in 2014.