The Redeemer Royals women’s volleyball team gave their fans a show on Wednesday (Feb. 6). On a night when the story lines usually surround the men’s team, the Lady Royals had everyone talking after they came within a game of upsetting the No. 3 nationally ranked Humber Hawks in an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association battle.
The Hawks, who lead the West Division, went into the match undefeated in 16 outings, while the Royals were sporting a 7-8 record. But it was the Hawks could do to escape the Royals gym with match win number 17.
Redeemer matched the Hawks set for set and pushed the Hawks to the limit in a five-set thriller. After only dropping three games all season, the Hawks seemed to be in control, taking the opening set, 25-16 and the second, 25-21.
But something sparked the Royals and Redeemer woke up. Playing some of their best volleyball of the season, the Royals took the third set, 26-24, stunning the Hawks who seemed to be expecting a 3-0 sweep.
Each player on Redeemer stepped up her game offensively and defensively, forcing the Hawks into making mistakes. Led by a record setting performance by Redeemer’s Curtiss Straatsma (Brampton), the Royals squeaked out a 27-25 fourth set win to tie the match at two.
In the fifth set with the score tied 5-5, the Lady Royals were poised to pull off a miraculous comeback but a run by the Hawks denied Redeemer the win and the Hawks took the game 15-8 and the match 3-2.
The two games the Royals took from the Hawks were only the fourth and fifth sets that Humber has dropped all season, accumulating a total of 51 set wins.
Straatsma was virtually unstoppable as she ripped apart the Humber defense for 23 total kills, one ace, six blocks, and 30 points. Her kills and points totals were set Redeemer records and the 30 points was just six shy of the all-time OCAA record.
Straatsma matched reigning OCAA Player of the Year and Canadian Colleges Athletic Association All-Canadian Kelly Nyhof throughout the match. While the Hawks won the battle for two points in the standings, it was Straatsma who won the battle between two of the top players in the country as she was able to squeak out two more kills and one more total point than Nyhof who finished with 21 and 29 respectively.
Redeemer’s Rebekah Wright (Burlington) had an impressive 30 digs in the loss.
The Royals will now look to take this strong effort into their final two games of the season. In a situation of must-wins, Redeemer faces Mohawk and Sheridan to decide who grabs playoff spots.
Redeemer’s April Passchier (Kitchener) played in her final home game as a Royal.