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Wildcats edge Fernie Falcons to claim Kootenay Zone Volleyball Title

The Kootenay Champion Mount Sentinel Wildcats include, back row, L-R, Gevyn Hlookoff, Lexi Elias, Jaylen Rushton, Sara St Goddard, Yana Woods, Lauryn Berlinger and coach Joe Moreira. Front, Adriana Wilson, Calla DeRosa, Maggie Silverson and Anabelle Hardy. — Submitted photo

The Mount Sentinel Wildcats advanced to the BC High School Single-A Girl’s Volleyball Championships by capturing the Kootenay Zone Title with a four-set victory over Fernie Falcons Saturday afternoon at the Selkirk College Gymnasium in Castlegar.

Mount Sentinel won the best-of-five final 25-22, 28-18, 19-25, 25-19.

“Winning (Saturday) was harder than the scores suggest,” said Wildcats head coach Joe Moreira. “Friday was not a particularly good day for us. We lost to both Fernie and Elkford . .  in both cases we were outplayed.

“That said, the outcomes did force us to do a little soul-searching (and) we were a very different team on Saturday.”

Despite losing to Kootenay rivals Fernie and Elkford, the Wildcats advanced to the playoff round where the host school took care of business on the court.

“First thought is that it really was a team effort,” Moreira explained. “Recognizing and accepting our roles, and where we each need to contribute, was inspiring.”

Moreira said the Wildcats overcame some adversity when starting setter Adriana Wilson was injured an ankle before the match.

Up, stepped, Annabelle Harding, who jumped at the opportunity to quarterback the offence.

“It worked. . .. Annabelle kept the game simple, found our hitters and our hitters responded in turn,” Moreira said, adding that Jaylen Rushton also stepped up her game Saturday.

Fernie Academy finished third with Elkford fourth and Sparwood fifth. West Kootenay/Boundary schools Boundary Sentinel, Nakusp and Salmo concluded the eight-team field.

The Wildcats, winners of the zone title for the 40th time in school history, now advance to provincial championships November 28-30 at Selkirk College. L.V. Rogers in Nelson will also host some of the round robin games.

“We have been ranked (number) two in the province for the last month, and winning our zone keeps us at number two behind Kelowna Christian,” Moreira said. “(However) the separation from first to seven or eight is very thin though.”