Royals focus on weekend playoffs

It was an electric atmosphere Wednesday night (Feb. 16) at the Redeemer University College gymnasium as the Royals welcomed the top ranked Humber Hawks men’s and women’s volleyball teams. The games were meaningless in terms of the standings and potential playoff seeding but one thing was evident – the games certainly meant something to the Royals’ players, coaching staff, and fans.

The women’s game saw Humber jump out to an early lead with a dominating first set victory, 25-14. From there, the Royals had trouble keeping pace with one of the top ranked teams in the country. Redeemer dropped the second set, 25-15, and the next set, 25-13, giving Humber the sweep.

For the Royals, Ashley Muller and Lindsay Klingenberg each had a team high five offensive points for Redeemer. Landis Doyle had a game high 16 points for the Hawks.

It was a bitter sweet game for the Lady Royals getting swept at home in their final league game but knowing that they have a first round playoff match on Saturday. The women, the number sixth seed in the West, travel to Loyalist College in Belleville as the Lancers grabbed the third seed in the East.

The winner of the match will advance to the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association provincial championships. Ironically, the championships are being hosted by Loyalist and a Redeemer win would see the Lancers eliminated from contention.

The women’s volleyball team will have some great support on Saturday as the men’s volleyball team will also be traveling to Loyalist on Saturday in their first round playoff match up. The men also finished sixth in the West while Loyalist was third in the East.

Their match against Humber was as exciting as any match this season with the game going to a thrilling fifth set in which Humber was able to squeak out an 18-16 victory and secure the OCAA West Division title. Humber took a hard fought 2-1 lead early in the night with three close games (25-19, 21-25, 28-26). The Royals stormed back in the fourth with the biggest game win of the night, 25-18, forcing the fifth and deciding set. In the final game, the Royals took an early lead at 8-5 but couldn’t hold on as Humber crept back taking the final game in extra points at 18-16.

Redeemer’s David Klomps had a monster game for the Royals with 26 total points off of 22 kills and four stuff blocks. Defensively the Royals were very strong as well with Derek Vandenbrink picking up a game high 18 digs. Matthew Issacs had 14 points for Humber.

For both games, fans packed the Redeemer gymnasium offering their support to the volleyball teams and wishing them well as they travel this weekend. One referee was quoted after the game saying that Redeemer has the best fans in the country.

The women take the court on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the men following at 3 p.m.

Game Note: Veterans Megan Hultink, Kendall Straatsma, and Josh Dykxhoorn all played their final Royals home games of their careers as they will be graduating in the spring.

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