The Princess Margaret Secondary School Mustangs junior girls volleyball team won the South Zone Championship last week.                                Submitted photo

The Princess Margaret Secondary School Mustangs junior girls volleyball team won the South Zone Championship last week. Submitted photo

Mustangs volleyball wins South Zone championship

The Princess Margaret junior girls volleyball team won the South Zone Championship.

The Mustangs stampeded to the title with victories over Princeton, Penticton Secondary School Grade 10’s and Summerland on Nov. 21.

In the first playoff match the Mustangs struggled through injuries and a slow start to defeat Princeton 25-23, 25-8. Lead by power hitter Emma Flores, the Mustangs rode her serve for nine straight comeback points resulting in a first game comeback. Ashley Mair and Katana Clayton came off the bench and helped provide good passes to the setter. Rachel Brown instilled strong team energy and spirit in the second game.

The second match saw a young Grade 9 Mustang’s squad come out with confidence as they lead from start to finish, thanks to the strong attacks from power hitters Kara Gilfillen and Madi Boerner, along with consistent right side attacks from Bella Green. Middle blocker Shawna Burgall made quality forearm passes to help build the offensive attacks. The Mustangs defeated Pen High Grade 10’s for the second time this season in straight sets with scores of 25-14, 25-18.

The finals slated the Mustangs against Summerland. The Mustangs defeated the Rockets for the second straight week and are the only team to beat the Rockets in South Zone matches.

Led by strong serving from Brooklyn Olexa and Carley Van Ryswyk, the Mustangs battled hard to rebound after losing game one 25-22. Setter Olexa played some of her strongest volleyball of the season and Van Ryswyk controlled the net as a middle blocker and attacker. Strong team defense and improved transition hitting kept the Rockets on their heels as the Mustangs won game two 25-18. Game three saw the Mustangs start strong with early big leads of 8-2 and 12-7 only to hold on for a 16-14 victory.

Coaches Marissa Buckley and John Buckley said they are both incredibly proud of their team’s performance throughout this season. They said their team has peaked at the right moment of the season and enjoyed hosting the Valley Championships. Several Grade 9 players gained valuable experience playing against top Grade 10 competition for next year as eight Grade 9 players return as juniors and all starters return for their Grade 10 year.