After looking at Madelyn Hettinga’s tear-streaked face, you may have assumed her Kelowna Owls had been on the wrong end of the final score in the championship final.
That would be wrong.
Hettinga and the Kelowna Owls had rallied back from a 10-point deficit in the first set to not only win that set over the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, but also set the tone to a 3-0 victory on Saturday night in the 4A Girls BC Secondary School Volleyball Provincial Championships at Langley Events Centre.
The win was also a second consecutive provincial title for the Owls with Hettinga earned the Most Valuable Player Award.
While the tears were partly out of joy for the accomplishment, that was not the full story either.
“I just think that my whole team deserves the award, I don’t I should be the one getting it. We have worked so hard as a team, I don’t think it is right for just me to get it,” she said after emerging from the bathroom while members of the team were still on the court celebrating with friends and family who made the trip from Kelowna.
“Very few kids these days are actually complete players that you can put at middle, at left-side, they can pass, they can hit. It is very beneficial for a coach to have that versatility out of a player. We can always get the match up we want,” explained coach Kelly Hettinga, Madelyn’s father.
Early on in Saturday’s championship final, it appeared that the Panthers were on their way to a blowout win over the Owls, much like they did earlier this season at the Red Serge Classic earlier this season.
In that game (the only time the two teams had met this season), Lord Tweedsmuir overwhelmed Kelowna and Saturday’s gold-medal game had the same feel.
The Panthers were up 14-4 in the first set before the Owls took flight, scoring 21 of the next 28 points to steal the match. They followed that up with 25-22 and 25-18 wins to secure the title.
“The first set was resilience,” Kelly Hettinga said. “The hole we were in was probably the best thing that could have happened to us. It just kickstarted us and things started to click.”
Madelyn Hettinga said the team simply needed to get to work to dig themselves out of that hole.
“Just the main thing was always having the fight. No matter how good you are, none of that matters. If you want to win, you have to be the hardest working team and work harder than everybody else,” she said.
Handsworth’s Shaylee Talbot was named the Most Outstanding Libero.
Maddie Avotins (Handsworth), Katarina Pantovic (Lord Byng), Sara Ostojic (Lord Byng), Sophie Lachapelle (Kelowna), Bailey Dorohoy (Lord Tweedsmuir) and Ellie Sinclair (Lord Byng) were selected First Team All-Stars.
The Second Team All-Stars were Capris Campardo (Riverside), Alysha Goundrey (Lord Tweedsmuir), Morgan Likness (Mission), Tara Wallack (Semiahmoo), Olivia Boulding (Claremont) and Amelia Anderson (Kelowna).
And the Sardis Falcons were named the Most Sportsmanlike Team.