Royals, Spartans to meet in D10 senior volleyball final
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Ross Royals will be looking to complete their unbeaten run through the District 10 high schools senior boys’ volleyball season in Friday’s final at Centennial.
The Royals advanced to the final with a 3-0 sweep of the Lourdes Crusaders in semifinal play Thursday at Ross.
“We just executed really well,” captain Jake Deschamps said. “We’ve definitely been the stronger team most of the season, especially on our home court. We haven’t lost a home-court game in over two seasons. It was relatively easy for us just because we played well and when we play well, we win — normally.”
The Royals won 25-9, 25-14, 25-9 to post their ninth consecutive win on their home court this season. It also stretched their unbeaten streak at home to 18 games. They haven’t lost at home since dropping a 3-1 decision to the Centennial Spartans there Oct. 1, 2015. However, they don’t feel extra pressure to keep that streak alive.
“We didn’t think about it,” Deschamps said. “We don’t really realize pressure. It’s not too bad for us, we just focus on the game and execute.”
“They do a really good job of focusing in on the game and not the result,” Ross coach Travis Oke said. “We focus every day on playing well and playing better as the match goes on. They’re very good at that.”
Ross and Centennial are to meet in Friday’s final at Centennial as the Spartans surprised the Guelph CVI Green Gaels 3-1 in semifinal play Wednesday at GCVI. Centennial won 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-16, 25-22) to stretch their run of consecutive appearances in the championship match to nine years. The Spartans won five of those finals including victories over Ross in 2015, 2010 and 2009. Ross won last year.
Ross finished first at the completion of this year’s regular season with a 14-0 record. They dropped three sets in league play. GCVI was second at 11-3 and Centennial third at 10-4.
Of the three sets that the Royals lost this season, two were in their season opener at home Sept. 19 and the other one was exactly one month later against the Spartans at Centennial.
“Our first game, we were just kind of getting it together,” Deschamps said.
While the semifinal wasn’t a tough match for the Royals, it was a good one to have right before the final.
“I got all my players playing and we even got to try out a couple of things – some new things that we might do in a week’s time,” Oke said. “It was a really good game to play.”
So far this season has been a good one for the Royals.
“We had 11 guys and 11 guys played all season long pretty regularly and 11 guys played well every single match we played,” Oke said. “This is our 31st match and we’re 29-2. Last weekend we went to a tournament in Stratford and lost to a couple of good teams, but made the semifinals. Our two losses were last week in Stratford.”
As for Friday’s final, the Royals figure that if they look after things on their end of the court, the result will look after itself.
“The key will be just to play well,” Deschamps said. “We’ve played them before and we just play our game.”
“We need to take care of our side of the net and not concern ourselves too much with what the other team will do,” Oke said before knowing who won the other semifinal. “The other team will likely play well. We’ll prepare for that and if we play well, that’s all we can do.
“It really does depend on one thing. If we play well, that’s the only thing we can control.”
Friday’s final at Centennial is to go at 8 p.m.
The Bishop Macdonell Celtics and Centre Wellington Falcons are to meet in the junior final Friday at Centennial.
Both claimed semifinal victories Wednesday.
Bishop Mac swept Centennial 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 26-24) and Centre Wellington edged Ross 3-2 (25-16, 25-20, 15-25, 20-25, 15-12).
Centre Wellington finished first at 10-4 while Bishop Mac was second at 9-5.
The Celtics won both games with the Falcons during the regular season, winning 3-1 at home Oct. 5 and 3-2 at Fergus Oct. 31.
Friday’s junior final is to start at 6 p.m.