The Mohawk Mountaineers have earned a semi final berth in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association men’s volleyball championship at Sheridan College in Oakville.
The Mountaineers turned in an impressive performance as they downed Hamilton Mountain rivals Redeemer Royals 26-24, 22-25, 25-22, 25-15 in their quarter final Thursday night (Feb. 21). Mohawk, which finished sixth in the West Region with a 9-9 record and had to qualify for the championship by defeating George Brown in a playoff, defeated the 14-4 Royals for the third time in three tries this season.
Mohawk spread its offense around in its victory. Eric Danecke collected eight kills and four stuff blocks. Mo Sulaiman had nine kills and two blocks. Brad Regier, who was selected the Mountaineer player of the match, also had nine kills and one service ace. and Phil Youngblut had five kills, one ace and two blocks.
For Redeemer, Aaron Vanderlught recorded 10 kills, three aces and four blocks. David Klomps had seven kills, two aces and one block and Eric Heidbuurt had 10 kills.
“It was the best match we’ve played all year,” Mohawk head coach Matthew Schnarr said. “I told them to be emotional and play it emotionally because everytime we play Redeemer, it’s close, it’s never easy. It was a total team effort — we played 12 guys and to have that many guys come on the floor, do their job and be reliable, it’s a great thing.”
While Redeemer held the edge in all offensive categories — 43-40 in kills, 5-3 in aces, 10-9 in blocks and 58-52 in total offence — it was a tenacious defensive effort from Mohawk that played a significant role in the narrative, as they had 55 digs to Redeemer’s 31.
Redeemer also struggled from the service line, making errors at inopportune occassions.
“Every time we built a little momentum, we served the ball out of bounds,” Redeemer head coach Wayne Harris said. “If you serve the ball out of bounds and continually let your opponent off the hook, you’re going to pay for it. We missed eight serves in the set we won, so our serving was an abomination. Against a very emotional, hard-working team like Mohawk, that’s going to bite you in the behind every time.”
The Mohawk Mountaineers will meet the Algonquin Thunder of Ottawa In the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball Championship semi finals Friday (Feb. 22) in Oakville. The game will get under way at 8:00 pm. Humber faces Nipissing in the other semi final at 6:00 pm.
Looking ahead to the next match, Mountaineers’ head coach Matt Schnarr says a key will be for his young group to enjoy the experience. “We just need to keep playing for the love of the game,” said Schnarr. “At the end of the day we just play hard and let the result take care of itself. If we win, that’s great, but if we don’t win, as long as you can walk away from the floor saying you did your best and you worked as hard as you can, that’s all you can ask. (Friday’s) a new day, we’re the underdog — we’re the eighth ranked team in the province — and we’ve got a semi final, so with a lot of young guys it should be interesting.”
Information on the championship, including live streaming of the matches is available at the official website: 2013ocaamvb.com