OAKVILLE – Having entered the 2013 OCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship as the seconded seeded team out of the West Division, expectations were high for the Redeemer Royals.
So when they were bounced from the quarter-finals by their city rivals from Mohawk, they needed to re-group as a unit and ultimately did so, defeating the Niagara Knights 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17) to win the OCAA Bronze Medal. With Mohawk taking the silver medal, both Hamilton colleges reached the podium on Saturday (Feb. 23).
Photo: Sheridan College/OCAA
“On Thursday night we had a team meeting and I said ‘Guys, I need you to tell (assistant coach) Brad [Douwes] what you want to do.’ A lot of teams who come to play for gold, stop when that door closes,” Redeemer head coach Wayne Harris said.
“They said they weren’t ready to be done. Veterans on the team said, ‘We are not ready to be finished our season.’ While it wasn’t what we were aiming for, they did re-focus and played three really good matches and they do bring home a bronze medal. So I’m really proud of the way they re-focused, despite the deep, deep disappointment.”
The win for Redeemer comes despite the fact that Niagara held the statistical advantage in nearly all areas, from kills (51-46), to aces (5-2) and total offence (63-60).
The two areas where the Royals were better than Niagara were blocks (12-7) and digs (48-46).
On match point, David Klomps put an exclamation point on the victory with an emphatic stuff block to secure the bronze.
Aaron VanderLught led Redeemer with 18 points (11 kills, seven blocks), while Klomps (nine kills, one ace, two blocks) and Calvin Fast (eight kills, one ace, two blocks) also hit double-digits.
For Niagara, Sam Youlton was the high point-man with 21 (17 kills, one ace, three blocks), while Shayne Petrusma had 20 (19 kills, one ace).
For Redeemer, the win was the Royals third OCAA medal of all-time – now with two bronze and one silver – with all three coming in the past four years. Despite falling short of medalling, Niagara is the only team – other than the champions — who still has something to play for. The Ironwood Wealth Management Group 2013 CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship will be hosted by Niagara, March 7-9.