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From Sunday through Tuesday this week, Edmonton was the host for the 2022 Youth Nationals Under-18 Volleyball tournament.
And to the surprise of many, Kelowna’s very own Heat program took him their first ever medal, a sparking silver.
The Heat came into the tournament ranked 15th in the 32 team field.
The nine game, three-day event was frenetic and grueling.
Day one had the squad go 2-1, which was good enough to vault them into the final 16.
On the second day, the Heat defeated pool champions from Ontario and Quebec, while also dispatching team New Brunswick to go a perfect 3-0 on the day. They then advanced to the final eight, occurring on Tuesday.
The final day started with a nervous quarter-final matchup, against the provincial champion Victoria Chargers, who dispatched the Heat in their only loss in a previous tournament.
The game went right down to the wire, with the Heat eking out the victory in a 15-12 third set that was wrought with intrigue.
Next was the semifinal against the host Alberta U18 team, and the number one ranked squad in the tournament.
They were no match for the Heat, who emphatically thumped the Bears 25-21, 25-21. The Heat were led by middle attackers Hudson Farrell and Gavin Margerison, as setter Walker Sodaro had a near-perfect match.
The final pitted the Heat up against the Manitoba Bison, a team loaded with size.
The first set was a slugfest, with the Bison just getting past the Heat 25-23. In the second, Manitoba pulled away for the 25-12 victory. The Bison went undefeated the entire tournament, only dropping two sets the entire event.
The Heat had two players selected to the six player tournament all-star team, setter Sodaro and 6 ft 5 in outside hitter Seba Manuel.
All the boys on the silver winning team will be aging out of the U18 program. The sole exception is Sodaro, who is still in grade 11.
Manuel, along with outside blocker Farrell and outside hitter Sam Jablonski will be joining the University Heat team next season.
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