Ross Royals sweep to junior volleyball title

GUELPH – The Ross Royals surprised themselves that they solved the Orangeville Bears at the right time to sweep to the District 10 high school junior girls’ volleyball title Friday night at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre.

“We’d lost to them twice throughout the season,” Ross coach Renee Rees said. “They were the only team we hadn’t beaten so it was very shocking.”

The Bears had triumphed 3-1 scores in both regular-season tilts, winning at home Dec. 7 and at Ross Jan. 16. Those wins helped Orangeville finish the regular season in first place at 11-3 while the Royals were third at 10-4, but they had disposed of the second-place Guelph CVI Green Gaels (11-3) in another sweep in Wednesday’s semifinals.

“I think the girls just really wanted it,” Rees said. “The way we played on Wednesday kind of played into today. I think they just wanted it a lot.”

The Royals were not going to be denied the championship win as they were at their best in the league final. They rallied from a 24-17 deficit in the second set to win it 28-26. Ross had won the first set 25-11 and eked out a 25-23 win in the third set for the title.

“We basically had a player play rule all year,” Rees said. “Everybody got to play sets. Everybody got floor time. Our goal for the year was to make it here so our decision was to start playing just a few girls to get them used to playing together. That’s what we did and I think it paid off.”Team MVPs for the game were Alex Cluff of the Royals and Leah Inglis of Orangeville.

The win was the second junior championship win in three years for the Royals and their third in six years and it puts them in the CWOSSA AAA championship tournament Thursday at the University of Waterloo and Kitchener’s Forest Heights CI.

“We haven’t gone for two years and it’s junior – it’s my first time doing junior,” Rees said. “I have no idea what to expect at junior CWOSSA. We’re just going to go in and play our best.”

Rees coached the senior squad at Ross for several years and this was her first season with the junior Royals.

“It’s different because you have to remember that the experience isn’t there,” she said. “This group is really great because a lot of them play club so they have that basic knowledge, but it’s remembering that they haven’t had much experience yet.”

At the CWOSSA tournament, Ross will be in a pool with the Owen Sound Wolves and Waterloo CI Vikings. The other pool will consist of the St. John’s Green Eagles of Brantford, Cameron Heights Gaels of Kitchener and St. Benedict Saints of Cambridge.

  • Guelph Sports Journal