Members of Earl Marriott Secondary’s senior boys volleyball team celebrates after winning the Thunderbird Invitational at UBC earlier this season. (Wilson Wong/UBC Thunderbirds photo)

Earl Marriott volleyball squads finding early-season success

Two tournament victories for South Surrey school’s senior boys team so far

Earl Marriott Secondary’s senior volleyball teams have been off to a hot start this fall.

At various points throughout the early stages of the season, both the senior boys and senior girls Mariner squads have been ranked No. 1 in provincial rankings – the boys play in triple-A, while the girls are in quad-A – and the boys also have two tournament titles under their belts, already.

Most recently, the boys team – which is still ranked No. 1 at the triple-A level – placed first at UBC’s 54th annual Thunderbird Invitational tournament, and a week prior to that, took top spot at a Douglas College-hosted event.

In both tournaments, the Mariners rolled through undefeated.

“It’s probably the deepest team the school has ever had,” said EMS senior boys coach Al Schill.

“The grade 11s we have are exceptionally good, and the Grades 12 equally so. It’s a nice problem to have as a coach – trying to find playing time for 11 guys who are used to being starters but are now kind of having to take their turns.

“Normally, you’d see quite a drop between your best guy and your last, but with this team, the difference between our first and last is so small, I feel like we could win with just about anybody out there.”

Meanwhile, the girls – with longtime coach Mark Cassell at the helm – are currently ranked No. 3 among the province’s quad-A teams, after beginning the year as the preseason No. 1.

“Still a lot of the season to play before the end,” Cassell told Peace Arch News, when asked about the possibility of both teams ending the season atop their respective divisions.

Though having two senior teams from the same school both ranked No. 1 at the same time is rare, it has happened in South Surrey before – in 2005, the Semiahmoo Totems swept both senior provincial tournaments. Coincidentally, Cassell was the head coach of the Totems’ senior girls squad that year.



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