It’s no disgrace losing to a Canadian champion.
The Cardinal Newman Cardinals went down 3-1 on Thursday (Nov. 14) to the Georgetown Rebels, a boys’ high school volleyball team that features two-time defending Canadian age-group beach volleyball champion, Jake MacNeil.
With heavy-hitting MacNeil leading the way, Georgetown took the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference Quad A title at the Newman gym (25-27, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18). And with the win, the Rebels qualify for the provincial high school tournament Nov. 21-23 in Mississauga.
MacNeil and his partner Andrew Richards of London captured consecutive national U18 and U16 beach volleyball crowns. The pair leaves for Puerto Rico in about two weeks to try and qualify for the next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
“Definitely, No. 3 (MacNeil) was their best player,” said Jake Plumb of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association champion Cardinals. “In the first set we were blocking really well on him. But near the end, he was still hitting over top of us.”
MacNeil’s jump serve was a powerful weapon. And when it came down to crunch time in each of the final three sets, it was his kill shots that proved to be the difference.
Newman coach Mike Fuchs said he had seen MacNeil in action at a couple of tournaments earlier this season. The Cardinals, according to Fuchs, tried to move personnel around to find favourable matchups against him but it didn’t really work.
“He’s definitely someone you have to game plan for,” the Newman coach said. “Our biggest issue coming into this was we had a couple of kids who were hurt and sick. We were trying to protect them a little. It limited some of the stuff we might have been able to do with the matchups. But I don’t know how much difference it would have made. He’s a really strong player.”
Georgetown also has some good height and skill in Owen Martel and Ken Kerr, who are both 6-foot-5. The overall record this season of the Halton-champion Rebels stands at 44-8.
“It was a good match,” said Georgetown coach Kyle Stewart. “Every point was tight. I couldn’t believe how well Newman passed the ball.
“Their No. 15 (middle Austin Bonaker-Hofmans) had a great game and scored a lot of points against us.”
The Cardinals defeated the Cathedral Gaels 3-0 last week to take honours in the HWCAA. Other players on the Newman roster are Zack North, Nick Casuccio, Liam Hickey, Mitchell North, Filip Arezina, Patrick Wilusz, Andre Gregorio, Mark Farbotko, Austin Pestrak, Anthony Torresin, Daniel Reynolds, Adam Tweedle, Richard Minken and Hayden Bailey.
Earlier in the week, the Milton Mustangs edged the Bishop Ryan Celtics 3-2 to qualify for Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association Triple A boys’ volleyball.