Royals volleyball grab thrilling wins from Niagara

The Royals volleyball teams sent their fans into the Christmas Break in thrilling fashion with an electric night at Redeemer on Friday. The men’s and women’s teams defeated the Niagara Knights in dramatic Ontario Colleges Athletic Association five-set matches in front of the home crowd.

The Lady Royals (4-5) moved into a tie for fourth place in the OCAA West division with a 3-2 win over the Knights (4-4). Set scores were 17-25, 25-19, 15-25, 25-16, 15-13. Redeemer sits with eight points heading into the holiday break, however, the two teams tied with them (Niagara and Mohawk) each have one game remaining this semester. The two teams play each other at Mohawk College on Tuesday (Dec.4).

In the women’s game, the Royals got a strong defensive performance when needed. They had a total of 60 digs as a team with three players; April Passchier (Kitchener), Rebekah Wright (Burlington), and Curtiss Straatsma (Brampton), all recording double-digits.

The Royals also out blocked the Knights by a 9-3 margin.

Curtiss Straatsma seemed to be unstoppable on the court as she recorded 18 kills, one ace, and four blocks for 23 total points. She added 16 digs. Passchier also had double-digit points as she had four kills, five aces, and two blocks for 11 total points while coming up with 10 digs as well.

Redeemer completes its set of first semester games on a high after an up and down start to the season. Their inconsistent play saw them come out on top with victories against Niagara and Sheridan but dropping points to Conestoga and Mohawk.

The Lady Royals will look to ride their momentum over the Christmas break and into an exhibition tournament at Durham College before returning to play in the second semester against Nipissing University and Canadore College on Jan. 11-12 at home.

In the men’s match, Redeemer (7-2) aimed to put a stop to Niagara’s (5-3) recent run of four straight wins. They accomplished just that, but needed a solid five sets.

The game went back and forth all night with no team able to take control. It was feast or famine for the teams as the loser in each set was held to 19 points or less. Set scores were 17-25, 25-19, 25-15, 16-25, and 15-13.

Both teams proved they could score with three players on Niagara and three on Redeemer each hitting double-digit points. David Klomps (Surrey, B.C.) had 17 kills, two aces, and three blocks for 22 total points as well as 13 digs. Redeemer’s tandem of middles, Aaron Vanderlugt (Burlington) and Cameron Groenendijk (Chemainus, B.C.), had 11 and 10 points respectively with each player adding three blocks.

Niagara’s Shayne Petrusma had a game high 22 kills and 26 points.

Strong defensive play once again proved to be the difference in the game as three Royals recorded double-digit digs with Jesse Dykxhoorn (Holland Marsh), Eric Heidbuurt (Waterdown), and David Klomps having 13, 10, and 13 digs respectively.

The men’s team extended its win streak to six games in which they have only dropped a total of three sets. The Royals took possession of first place for one evening before Nipissing University regained top spot with wins on Saturday and Sunday.

Redeemer is the only team to have defeated the Lakers this season.

With such a strong first half of the season, the team will look to stay in form over the break and come prepared in January with some exhibition play over the Christmas break. The Royals will need to be on their game as their first match of 2013 will be against the top ranked Nipissing Lakers at home on Jan. 11.