Mission players Mo Likness (right) and Erin O’Brien have been two key players for the Roadrunners senior volleyball team this season.

Mission Roadrunners gearing up for provincials

Senior girls volleyball team ranked third heading into championship weekend

The Mission Roadrunners senior girls volleyball team just had its best season in team history, and if all goes well the Roadrunners could be in for a deep run at the AAAA provincials which opened in Langley on Thursday.

Mission dominated during the regular season, putting together a perfect 9-0 record, and only losing two total sets for the entire season. The Roadrunners beat Sardis, G.W. Graham and Yale 3-1, but every other game was a clean 3-0 sweep.

The club continued its winning ways in the Eastern Valley Athletic Association playoffs en route to earning a regional championship banner for the school. Combine that excellent regular season and playoff run with a number of other strong showings at some of the top local tournaments and the Roadrunners enter the provincials ranked third.

Roadrunners head coach Andrew Hale said it’s been a tremendous run for his team.

“We’ve had a really positive last three weeks,” he said. “We won a major tournament, we brought in the number one team in AAA and AAAA and the former number one in AAAA leading up to this and have been very, very competitive with all of them so that part has me quite hopeful.”

Hale said there are five strong teams in the province and he considers his club to be in that mix.

“If everything went perfectly could we contend? We probably could but everything has to go right,” he said. “There are probably five teams in the province that are a little bit better than everyone else and we have beaten two of those teams so we are very hopeful.”

Part of the Roadrunners success is due to superstar middle hitter Mo Likness, who is coming off of a most valuable player accolade at the EVAA playoffs. Hale said that Likness is a very special player and expects her to do big things at the university level.

“In my mind she is one of the best players in the province,” he said. “And she’s probably the best at her position. I’ve had some really good players over the years but Mo is a different kind of offensive weapon. This year she has really stepped up and grown into a leadership role.”

Likness has starred for years with the Elevate and Rain City club teams and also played for Team B.C. in 2018 (an injury kept her off the team for 2019). Hale said she has received a lot of interest from several college teams and she has all the tools to become a big contributor at that level.

“She’s six feet tall, she’s super dynamic and gets up really hard,” he said. “And she’s actually a really good multi-sport athlete. She is focused on volleyball right now but she was a catcher in softball and has an absolute cannon for an arm. She’s very physical and not slow – I have her play all six rotations and she passes in the background and can play defence as well. There are very few people hitting the angles she is hitting and every team puts its entire defensive structure together to try and stop her and she is still hitting over .500 for us this year.”

Hale said the chemistry with Likness, Erin O’Brien and Delaney Spink has been a key to the team’s success this season.

Mission is slotted in Pool C at the provincials with Lord Tweedsmuir, Pinetree and Vancouver Tech. Hale said it’s a challenging group, with both Tweedsmuir and Pinetree having a lot of talent. Tweedsmuir finished third in the South Fraser Region with a record of 6-1 and Hale said they are one of the best teams in the province.

The Roadrunners open on Thursday against Vancouver Tech at 11 a.m., then play Pinetree at 2:45 p.m. and finish the round robin against Lord Tweedsmuir at 6:30 p.m. The entire tournament occurs at the Langley Events Centre.

The championship round begins on Friday, with the provincial champion crowned on Saturday.

For more information, visit bcssvolleyballchampionships.ca/home.

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