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Earl Marriott Mariners take aim at provincial Grade 9 volleyball title

After Surrey, South Fraser banners, girls team enters Cloverdale-hosted provincials as No. 1 seed.

Earl Marriott Secondary’s Grade 9 girls volleyball team will be looking to complete a tournament trifecta this weekend, when provincial championships tip off in Cloverdale.

The South Surrey squad has already won a Surrey championship, beating Holy Cross in the finals on Nov. 2, and most recently captured the South Fraser banner, beating Richmond’s McMath Secondary last Monday (Nov. 15).

Now, the team is taking aim at B.C. championships, and they’ll head into the tournament, which starts today (Friday) at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, as the No. 1 seed.

In 2017, Semiahmoo Secondary’s Grade 9 girls team was able to run the table – winning Surrey, Fraser Valley and provincial banners. Now, EMS will look to equal the feat.

Robert Stevens, the head coach of the Mariners, noted that a few teams – two from Kelowna and one from Dawson Creek – may have pulled out of the tournament due to travel problems as a result of the massive flooding, landslides and other weather-related disasters that have plagued the province over the last week.

Regardless of their opponents, however, the team will look to cap what has already been “a very successful season,” Stevens said.

Stevens said his players’ ultra-competitiveness has served the team well – and shows up not just on the court, but off as well.

“We had a team bonding event at one of the family’s homes a week or so ago and the girls were enjoying a Jacuzzi after dinner,” he explained. “The next thing we know, they’re out in the backyard, playing volleyball on the lawn, in the dark, barefoot in the freezing rain (playing each other).

“This is a tough group of 14-year-old girls. I wouldn’t bet against them.”

The tournament begins this afternoon and wraps up Saturday night.

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