While the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s West Division men’s volleyball is packed with tough competition, there always seems to be extra excitement surrounding a match at home that features the Royals and the Humber Hawks. A rivalry that is very new and fresh is turning out to be one that is full of intensity and excitement. Wednesday night at Redeemer University College, was no exception.
The Redeemer Royals entered the match coming off of their first loss in 12 games, a setback delivered by the Niagara Knights. The Royals were looking to get back into the win column and continue the very difficult test of finishing in the top two in the highly contested West Division.
The Hawks were looking to continue their late surge having won six in a row. With Redeemer, Niagara, and Humber all sitting with 12 wins on the season going into the affair, the tilt between the Royals and Hawks would provide two valuable points in the standings.
Backed by a large crowd of Royals supporters, Redeemer came out flying and stunned the visiting team with a convincing 25-16 first set win. The second set wasn’t much and, although the final score was 25-21, the Royals controlled the run of play from start to finish.
The third set saw the Hawks gain some life and provided a glimpse of why Humber can be such a dangerous team. On the backs of a strong defensive performance, the Hawks took the set, 25-22.
From there, the Royals and Hawks battled it out in a close fourth set. Both teams exchanged points but Redeemer kept its edge. After a number of huge defensive plays, Redeemer took the lead late and was able to cruise to a 25-20 win and a 3-1 victory.
Three Royals had double digit points: Eric Heidbuurt (Waterdown) had 18; Calvin Fast (St. Catharines) had 16; and Cameron Groenendijk (Chemainus, B.C.) had 13. Setter Jake Klassen (Surrey, B.C.) had another strong game for Redeemer and Jesse Dykxhoorn (Holland Marsh) had a team-high 21 digs.
Andre Brown and Matthew Issacs each had a team-high nine points for Humber.
With the win, Redeemer now 13-3 moves back into first place in the OCAA West as the only team with 13 wins.
The Royals have two games remaining with matches against the OCAA championship host Sheridan Bruins (10-5), and the always-tough Hamilton rival Mohawk Mountaineers (8-7). For Redeemer a win in either of their final games would secure Royals a top two finish and a bye into the provincial showdown.
David Klomps (Surrey, B.C.), Aaron Vanderlugt (Burlington), and Jesse Dykxhoorn all competed in their final home game as a Redeemer Royal.