The Semiahmoo Totems celebrate after capturing the BC high school boys AAA volleyball championship at the Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press The Semiahmoo Totems celebrate after capturing the BC high school boys AAA volleyball championship at the Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Semiahmoo Totems top Mount Baker Wild in thrilling five-set final

Semiahmoo defeats top-seed from Cranbrook to capture gold at BC AAA boys volleyball final at Langley Events Centre

In the end, the championship experience of the Semiahmoo Totems came through.

The Totems won the first two sets 25-21 and 25-22 of the gold-medal match of the BC high school volleyball AAA championships on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.

So when the Mount Baker Wild — the tournament’s top seed — came roaring back with 25-18 and 25-12 victories to force a fifth and deciding game, the Totems were able to draw on last year’s experience, when they captured the provincial banner.

“You know sometimes you see the light at the end of the tunnel and think it’s the sun? Well it was a train,” said Semiahmoo coach Michael Sapic.

The coach said he didn’t even let his players to the bench after the one-sided fourth set.

All he told them was that the first four sets didn’t matter and that at the start of the season, they would have gladly accepted the chance to play in the fifth set of the gold-medal game.

The teams were tied at six in that decisive set, but the Totems scored nine of the final 15 points to win 15-12.

“I just told myself and my team to stay calm,” said Semiahmoo’s Mike Dowhaniuk, who earned his second consecutive most outstanding player award.

“Just do what we have done all year and play Semiahmoo volleyball and it worked out in the end for us.”

The Totems were seeded ninth for provincials after placing third at the Fraser Valley championships and Dowhaniuk said their semifinal loss at that tournament was a good wake-up call for the team.

Semiahmoo was second in their pool after going 2-1 on the first day of provincials. They then beat Kelowna 3-0 in the round of 16, won 3-1 over Penticton in the quarter-finals and 3-0 over Earl Marriott in the semifinals.

Mount Baker went 3-0 on the first day before winning 3-1 over Reynolds, 3-0 over Elgin Park and 3-0 over Seaquam on their way to the championship final.

“Coming out, the boys were playing a little scared,” admitted Wild coach Karley Ferner. “The first two sets, giving them those two, obviously didn’t help, but they weren’t playing with confidence — they were playing a little bit scared, they were swinging a little scared.

“Once they got through that, they were pretty unstoppable for a while.”

The Wild’s second-place finish matched their result from 2001, a best-ever for the program.

“We knew we had the talent. It’s a good finish — it’s bittersweet, we are really happy to get number two but of course, you want the win. But they put the work in and accomplished what they wanted to do,” Ferner said.

Mount Baker’s Quinn Grist and Caleb Peters were named first team all-stars while Semiahmoo’s Tyler Buchanan and Adam Paige were also named to the team.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Semiahmoo Totems’ Mike Dowhaniuk runs into a wall of Mount Baker Wild blockers — Caleb Peters (#3), Sheldon Thomas (#11) and Dawson Atwood (#6) — during the gold medal game of the BC high school AAA boys championship final at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 2. Greg Laychak Black Press

Mount Baker’s Riley Byman sets the attack for his team during the BC high school boys AAA gold medal game at the Langley Events Centre against the Semiahmoo Totems on Dec. 2. Greg Laychak Black Press

Just Posted

2.5 years in Penticton courthouse over neighbour assault ends

Man pleaded guilty, withdrew, stood trial, pleaded guilty to assault described by Crown as ‘vicious’

Country star takes a dip for charity

Brett Kissel went for a dip in Okanagan Lake while in Penticton to raise money for Her International

Pursuit of Excellence defeats OHA in female prep hockey final

Okanagan Hockey Academy lost to Pursuit of Excellence 6-3 at the CSSHL final in Penticton

Oliver holds onto Wine Capital of Canada designation

It might be hard to swallow for other communities but Oliver remains Wine Capital of Canada

Carmi students start their day with Olympic inspiration

Brent Hayden, 2012 swimming bronze medalist, waded through Penticton and Summerland schools

What’s happening

Find out what events are taking place this weekend in the Okanagan and Shuswap

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

Most Read