The Mohawk Mountaineers will face the Humber Hawks in the semi finals of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball Championship in North Bay. Mohawk scored a five-set triumph over the Seneca Sting in an exciting quarter final at Nipissing University on Thursday (Feb. 23).
In a rematch of last year’s bronze medal tilt, which Mohawk won 3-0, this encounter was very close, featuring two evenly matched teams trading points throughout. Mohawk took the first set 25-22. Seneca flipped that score for the second set, despite some spotty serving. The third set went to Mohawk 26-24. Seneca rebounded to take the fourth set 25-22, forcing a fifth game to decide the winner and Mohawk emerged with a 15-8 verdict.
In the deciding set, the Mountaineers jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the Sting rallied with five straight points. However, with the scored knotted at 7-7, fifth-year star and former All-Canadian Steve Pawelczyk reeled off five straight successful serves to put the Mountaineers ahead 13-7 and they were on their way.
Justin Scapinello, who earlier in the day was named an All-Canadian and OCAA All-Star, led Mohawk with 14 kills, one ace and two stuff blocks. Phil Youngblut, who was selected Mohawk’s player of the match, recorded 11 kills, one ace and two blocks and Pawelczyk had eight kills and two blocks.
Mountaineers’ head coach Matt Schnarr, citing injury and some veterans not playing well, said the team faced more adversity in that match than any all year. He said the bench really came through.
The Mohawk-Humber semi final match is set for Friday at 6 pm.
In their quarter final, Humber defeated the Redeemer Royals 3-0 in a rematch of last year’s gold medal match won by the Hawks, who are the two time defending OCAA champions.
Mohawk has won an OCAA medal in five of the last six championships, including Golds in 2006 and 2008. The Mountaineers are currently ranked No. 14 in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).