Sometimes a little adversity makes you stronger.
The Kelowna Secondary Owls are bringing home a gold medal and provincial title after a struggle to even get to the BC School Sports AAA Volleyball championship.
They were supposed to host the tournament, but because of the closure of all non-essential travel on major highways linking the Interior to the coast, the team had to cobble together an estimated $20,000 to fly to the Lower Mainland to play for the title.
Then, the starting power hitter, Sebastien Manuel, suffered a broken and dislocated pinky finger in the second game of the tournament.
“We literally lost the best hitter on our team. The guys pulled together and showed how strong we were as a team. That we could still pull it off without our number one guy. It was pretty special,” said Head Coach Mike Sodaro.
Despite all that, they won in style, sweeping the competition and beating Elgin Park Secondary School from Surrey in the final.
The Owls posted a phenomenal record of 48-1 (99-9 in sets won-lost) and only dropped a single match in the opening weekend of the season.
For Sodaro, it was sixth-time lucky. His teams have had to settle for silver medals at five previous provincial championships.
“It’s also been 68 years since Kelowna Secondary boys volleyball team has won a provincial championship. The last time they won it was 1953," Sodaro said.