After losing their first set and having to fight tooth and nail to take the next two, the Langley Christian Lightning finally wore down the College Heights Cougars.
The end result was a provincial championship as the Lightning won the BC senior boys 2A title on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
“We knew this team was one that was going to dig a lot of balls tonight and we just had to wear them down over time and that is what we did,” said Lightning coach Carol Hofer.
“We had to come out, keep battling hard, keep the serve in the court — that was a bit of a struggle early in the match — and really put together a pretty spectacular match.”
The Cougars were seeded fifth for the 16-team provincial championships and they knocked off the No. 5 Langley Fundamental Titans in the quarter-finals and the No. 2 Pacific Academy Breakers in the semifinals.
A victory over the Lightning would have meant the Cougars took down three of the province’s top four teams to win gold.
And in Saturday’s first set, College Heights won 25-19.
The next two sets were back and forth with the Lightning winning both, 25-22 and 25-23.
The fourth set was 25-18.
Hofer said she told her players after the first set that it would be a long night and they just needed to go out and play their game.
It was the first time Langley Christian had faced the Prince George school this season.
“We had seen them play … bit of the devil you don’t know but had watched some video and had a real feel for what they would be like,” she said.
The Lightning were the top seed heading into provincials, but were seeded second after losing to Pacific Academy in pool play on day one.
They beat the W.L. Seaton Coyotes in the first round of the championship draw and the George Elliot Coyotes in the quarter-finals. Next up was a victory over their Abbotsford rivals, the MEI Eagles in the semifinals.
Winning provincials was the goal from the start of the season, and not totally unexpected as the Lightning won the BC junior provincial title last year with an undefeated season. This year’s senior squad had eight Grade 11s and five Grade 12s.
“We said we wanted this on day one and knew we had to focus on the process to get there,” Hofer said.
“Today is 90 days for the season, every day we talked about we had to come in and train for the moment.”
Brodie Hofer, the coach’s son who still has one year of high school eligibility — was named tournament MVP. It caps off a big week for the Grade 11 star, who a few days earlier, verbally committed to the Trinity Western Spartans men’s program.
Reid Marriott (Grade 12) was named a first team all-star.