It was not the smoothest of beginnings for the Langley Fundamental volleyball season.
With the school year start delayed by weeks because of the teachers’ strike, public schools were already behind the eight-ball when classes finally resumed in late September.
At the Titans’ Grade 8 boys volleyball team’s first practice, head coach Jan Ellison said the turnout was lower than anticipated.
“I ended up having to pull up four Grade 7s (so we had enough players),” said Titans coach Jan Ellison.
“So we have a pretty young and inexperienced team.”
The team entered a tournament near the start of the season with a poor showing.
“But then they started to gel … they started working together and building each other up and really started working as a team.
“And now we have started winning.”
The Titans defeated the Langley Christian Lightning 3-1 in the district championship game on Nov. 4 at the Langley Events Centre.
“We started the season very slowly and built momentum over the season,” Ellison said.
Heading into the district championships, Langley Fundamental was the second seed and Langley Christian was the top seed. The two teams, along with Credo Christian, all finished league play with 4-1 records, meaning a tiebreaker had to determine the standings.
In the district semifinals, the Titans were able to avenge their loss to Credo Christian, while the other semifinal saw Langley Christian beat H.D. Stafford.
In the final, the teams traded the first two sets before the Titans took sets three and four.
In the team’s lone previous meeting, it was Langley Fundamental prevailing in five sets.
“It is always close with Langley Christian,” Ellison said. “They are always a strong competitor … so this could have been anyone’s game.”
“My boys really wanted it; they moved as a team, were talking and playing aggressively and smart,” she added.
“We had errors, but they shook it off and came back strong.”
The coach also credited her bench for their verbal encouragement.
With the win, Langley Fundamental qualified for the Fraser Valley championships, which are being held at Earl Marriott Secondary on Nov. 14 and 15.
Langley Christian faces a wild-card game with a victory advancing the team to the tournament.
Credo Christian won the third-place game at districts.
The Titans are made up of Nic Degianni, Brandon Hsu, Ben Sauer, Justin Lee, Elias Blum, Cameron McKay, Zach Hsu, Jeremy Goh, Jackson Hleucka, Xander Roxburgh, Noah Wylie and Justin Ralph.