Announced late last spring, Merritt Secondary School (MSS) will be hosting the tournament for the Sr. Girls Volleyball Provincial Tournament. The high school looks forward to throwing a high level tournament, establishing Merritt as a viable location for large high school sporting events.

With the Provincial Volleyball Tournament being less than a month away. The tournament committee had a general meeting to iron out the details for the upcoming event. 

“I think we’re on the right path,” said Committee Chair Gian Cavaliere. “We’ve made milestone goals leading up to this tournament and right now, being three weeks away, I think we’re at a time when we feel that we’re on top for most of the things.”

Cavaliere and the rest of the committee believes that Merritt has a potential of being a great high school sports town. 

“I think when you’re a small community hosting an event this big, people are going to perceive you lacking certain facilities or aspects of the tournament,” he explained. “I am definitely putting a lot of pressure on myself and my community to really push ourselves as far as we can to ensure this event is great.” 

The meeting covered many fine details such as lodging, security, logistics, ticketing, and programming. 

“Our challenge right now is to fine tune all of these small points of the tournament to make sure that it is an event can be described by teams as a great experience when they leave.” 

There are 10 members that composes the committee, each covering specific aspects such as sponsorships and community engagement. 

“Our committee is very sports minded and very involved with the Merritt youth sports scene,” said Cavaliere. “Our conversations have been very positive and we bounce ideas off each other really well.” 

Dave Finch is the head coach of the Sr. Girls volleyball team but he also functions as one of the committee heads, in charge of accommodations and volunteers. During the meeting they discussed issues with the limited vacancies in town for the visiting schools.

“It’s been very trying,” he described. “Merritt has been popping right now with all the construction that has been going on so it’s been very difficult to secure the number of rooms that we need for the volleyball teams.” 

Right now, there are four hotels that the committee has connected with to reserve accommodations for the visiting teams. 

“In a perfect world, every team would have secured their rooms already but I’m pretty confident that all the teams will be well taken care of by the time the tournament rolls around.”

Finch is also shared the tournament’s need for volunteers. Turning to social media and word of mouth to get the word out about the need for extra sets of hands.

“There is a variety of roles over the course of those three days; score keeping, lines, logistics, ticket sales, and security,” he explained. “We are needing about 80 people throughout those three days and we will gladly welcome anyone that wants to volunteer.”

As for the Panther’s themselves, they will play in the Okanagan Tournament this weekend before getting ready for the big one in December. The team now looks to take advantage of their open schedule to train for the big event coming up.

“There has been a bit of a lull,” he described. “We had our tournament last weekend canceled so we definitely need to reestablish that energy back within the girls. We have our goals that weekend and the overall experience and being able to play at such a high level is definitely something we look forward to.”

The Provincial Volleyball Tournament will begin on Thursday, December 1. The event will happen across three gyms: MSS, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and the former Coquihalla Middle School. 

“We want the community to really embrace this event,” Cavaliere said. “We want the community to come out and really cheer on the girls, even if they have no connection to the school. This is not just a volleyball tournament for the high school but it’s also a community event that we want members to support, love, and take care of.”