It was a sweep to start the season for Redeemer’s volleyball teams as both Royals teams defeated the Conestoga Condors with identical 3-1 victories in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association play on Wednesday (Oct. 23).
Both teams were sluggish at the outset, playing nervous in their first games of the season but when the Royals woke up, they cruised to season opening wins.
The Lady Royals came out flat in the first set, playing very slow and struggling with their passing. A somewhat shell-shocked Royals team was under fire all set and unable to play with any consistency. The Condors took the first set convincingly, 25-9.
The second game saw a re-focused Redeemer team on the floor.
“We settled down, came out strong, and got up quickly,” said head coach Doug Veldman. “We started to connect well with our middle hitters and began to put in the effort as a team.”
The strong start in the second set gave the Royals the confidence they needed as they had little trouble getting back in the match with a 25-10 win. The Royals went on to cruise to the 3-1 victory with wins of 25-19, 25-20 in the third and fourth games.
Last season OCAA all-star Curtiss Straatsma led Redeemer with 19 points including 14 kills. Charlene De Vries had 12 points for the Royals.
Lauren Hagedorn had a team-high seven points for the Condors.
“We are looking forward to it,” said Veldman. “As long as we can solidify our serving and our passing we should be in good shape”.
The men appeared to take a page from the women’s book – and came out tentative and slow. “I think we were a little nervous. I think we were scared to play and scared to lose,” said head coach Brad Douwes.
Like the women, Redeemer dropped its first set. The Royals were down 17-12 in the second game before the team was able to turn things around.
“It took us a while to get things going,” said Douwes, “but once we started playing aggressively, playing our style of ball, it allowed us to turn the match around in our favor.”
The Royals did just that as they were able to come back from the late five-point deficit in the second set and reel off three straight wins to take the match 3-1.
A huge part of the dynamics on Wednesday night was the matchup against former Redeemer head coach Wayne Harris. Harris retired from Redeemer last spring and eventually went on to take the role as coach at Conestoga.
For new coach (former assistant coach) Douwes, it was a great night facing off against Harris.
“Playing against Wayne was fun. I think it made the guys a little tentative and nervous but we were able to overcome that, get rid of the nerves, and just play volleyball.”
Douwes expressed his appreciation to Wayne on Wednesday night on twitter saying, “Good win tonight against a good team. Conestoga has a great leader and this was obvious tonight”.
Both Redeemers teams are back in action for their home openers on Nov. 1 against Humber College.