A matter of a few points could be the difference between a bye to the Super Volley finals and a semifinal matchup with the FH Collins Warriors for the Porter Creek Rams and the Vanier Crusaders.
Despite consecutive wins at home to wrap-up the Super Volley regulars season, defeating the Crusaders 19-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 15-9 Thursday and the Warriors 25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 25-15 at home, the Rams are still waiting for confirmation of whether they will get a bye to the finals in two weeks.
With the Warriors still looking for their first win of the season, the spot will either go to the Rams or the Crusaders, each of whom defeated the other in five-set matches in their two Super Volley encounters this season.
Adding up points-won for each team in their two matches, the Rams should get the bye with 203 points to the Crusaders’ 201.
Friday’s win over the struggling Warriors was pulled off without Rams captain Robin Smith, who played libero instead of power against the Crusaders Thursday night because of an injured finger.
“We took some of our starters out to kind of give them a break and give the guys, who are usually on the bench, some experience,” said Rams’ Mike Geirnaert.
“I thought it was a good match-up, we played really hard the first two sets. The third set we kind of let our selves down a bit – it was all mental for us.
“Then we got right back into it and won it.”
Despite the winless record, the season is far from over for the Warriors, said coach Shaun McLoughlin.
“Going into the semifinals in two weeks, it’s looking promising,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, but we’re peaking at the right time of the year.
“I don’t know who we’re playing. Hopefully they take us for granted and they are looking forward to the match the next night.
“The end of that last set was pretty ugly, but the rest of the match, I thought was our best match of the year,” added McLoughlin. “That’s the first set we’ve taken off Porter Creek this year. And as a team I thought we played quite well, there were a lot of big digs and a lot of big saves. Our passing for the most part today was strong.”
With a bevy of service winners under his belt, Rams’ Cameron Weeks was named his team’s Player of the Game.
“He was always calling the ball, he was reading the game all the time and helping us out,” said Geirnaert. “He was all around on his top game today.”
Seeing a little more court-time than usual, Logan Godin was named the Warriors’ Player of the game.
“He’s a guy that’s been coming off the bench for most of the year – he’s Grade 11,” said McLoughlin. “But he came in filling in for our middles that weren’t here today and he had a great match. We won a lot of points off his serve.”
Thursday’s loss for the Crusaders was their first of the Super Volley season, but it wasn’t difficult to find potential causes, such as the absence of captain Henry Kedziora and middle Albert Spycher.
“They both have previous injuries, so it was important to rest them for us,” said Crusader boys head coach Russ Tait. “They’re a huge part of my team, so it’s important for them to be 100 per cent come the championships, which are coming in two weeks.
“This was a good opportunity for some of my younger players, who usually sit on the bench, to step up.”
See more coverage in Wednesday’s print edition.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org