Royals set to face former coach in volleyball opener

There is no shortage of storylines heading into Wednesday’s (Oct. 23) Ontario Colleges Athletic Association season openers for the Redeemer Royals basketball and volleyball teams.

After a long, intense preseason for both programs, the Royals will finally hit the court in a pair of meaningful away games. While each season for basketball and volleyball consists of 18 regular season games, the value of a strong start out of the gate cannot be overstated.

(Photo: Redeemer Athletics)

(Photo: Redeemer Athletics)

The women’s and men’s volleyball teams head to Conestoga College for games at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Lady Royals proved over their preseason schedule that they are ready for a strong 2013-14 season and are hoping to improve on last season’s result. The Lady Royals qualified for the provincial championships and defeated the top ranked Durham Lords in the first round, before eventually losing out in the bronze semi-final match to Cambrian College.

The Royals have a much-improved offense and continue to grow defensively with every game they play.

The men’s game against Conestoga will have significant meaning for the Royals. Redeemer will enter Conestoga’s gymnasium and square off against former Royals head coach and reigning Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men’s coach of the Year, Wayne Harris. This will be the first time Redeemer has seen any game action against Harris since he left Redeemer at the end of last season.

Harris retired from the Redeemer program last spring. Since then, he has decided to coach once again in the OCAA in his hometown of Kitchener. Redeemer’s assistant coach last season, Brad Douwes, will get a chance to square off against Harris in a competitive West Division match up for some bragging rights. Douwes took on the head coach role when Harris left the Royals.

The Royals enter the new campaign after a very successful 2012-13. Redeemer won a provincial bronze medal and was ranked as high as No. 2 in Canada.

Redeemer visit Mohawk to open basketball season

The women’s and men’s basketball teams head to Mohawk College for games at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. After a very busy preseason that saw travel to a number of Canadian Interuniversity Sport schools as well as trips to the East Coast of Canada and Michigan, Redeemer is ready for the start of the new season.

The women will continue to build on their strong 2012-13 campaign that saw the Royals finish with six wins. Redeemer put a stop to their extensive losing streak in 2012 and with a strong class of recruits for this season, a playoff spot will not be out of question for the young Lady Royals.

The men, although small in number, has had some success against Ontario University Athletics schools in the preseason. The Royals will look to take that experience against tough competition into their season opener against a Mohawk team that went undefeated in the preseason. Battling against Mohawk, one of the top teams in the country in 2012, will be a great early test for Redeemer.

The games on Wednesday night will also have added significance as they will be the first ever OCAA league games played in Mohawk College’s new athletic facility. The Royals would like nothing more than to spoil the Mountaineers homecoming.

The rivalry that exists against Mohawk and Redeemer continues to build each year as the Royals basketball program grows into an OCAA West contending team. Redeemer will get a chance to solidify itself against two strong teams on Wednesday night and get 2013 started after much anticipation.