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Island Drive races to provincial volleyball victory

U18 girls dominate all comers

A new volleyball club established in the Cowichan Valley is already making waves in major competitions.

Island Drive formed just this year and features U16 and U18 female teams made up of athletes from across the Cowichan Valley.

Assistant coach Jamie McDougald explained that being a new team, the U18s had to fight their way through the season to move up from their Div. 3 pre-season ranking and into Div. 2.

But work they did. Even so, when the Volleyball BC club provincial championships were held in Richmond recently, the Drive were ranked 15th of 16 teams headed into the Div. 2 event.

What followed was the stuff of TV movies.

The Drive opened their round robin with a 2-1 victory over Jr. Cascades Summit (25-15, 18-25, 15-5) and then ousted PCVC in straight sets (25-20, 25-21) before finishing off the pool play with a 2-0 victory over KVA Pack (25-21, 25-20).

Having found their stride, the Drive then beat Sky White in straight sets (25-16, 25-22) in the quarter finals to advance to the semi-finals, where they ousted the Raincity Rush, also two games to none (25-16, 25-18).

From the second-to-last ranked team headed into the provincial tournament, the squad then faced the No. 2 ranked PCVC in the finals.

Having previously beaten PCVC, the Drive knew they could do better. And do better they did, as the Drive put up a dominant effort, beating PCVC in straight sets (25-15, 25-16) to win the provincial gold.

“As coaches we were extremely proud of the gritty yet consistent effort by our Island Drive U18 girls team,” said head coach Jill Fougner, who also coached the Brentwood College School volleyball team.

“We were never in doubt about the ability of our crew but to go through the tournament against some fierce competition with only one set lost, is next level, and we are so very proud of this group and the club as a whole.”

All told, the Drive had six wins and no losses, winning 12 sets and losing just the one. They outscored their opponents 308-230 over the course of the championships.

“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, particularly given our ranking entering the tournament,” McDougald said. “We are most certainly the underdog or dark horse and embraced it.”

The U16 team is attending their club volleyball championship in Abbotsford on May 4 and 5.