Spartans back on track, sweep senior quarter-final
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Centennial Spartans feel they’ve got through the rough patch in their District 10 high schools senior boys’ volleyball season just in time.
“It has been going good,” Centennial captain Will Wang said of the Spartans’ season. We were a little rough at the end of the season, but I feel like we’re up to our standards now.”
The Spartans know what they need to focus on to survive in the playoffs.
“We just need to work on passing – free-ball passing, getting it to the right spot so the setter can come up and we can come up with good attacks and good offence,” Wang said.
The attacks went well for the Spartans Monday as they swept the Bishop Macdonell Celtics 3-0 to open the league’s playoff week with a victory in the quarter-finals.
Centennial won 25-15, 25-20, 25-20.
“We were a little rusty,” Wang said. “I think it was a long weekend with no practice. Monday morning we usually have one.”
Centennial went through a stretch a couple of weeks ago where they lost two of three games as they were defeated by the Ross Royals and Centre Wellington Falcons. However, they haven’t dropped a set in D10 play since then as they completed the regular season with four consecutive sweeps.
The playoff week is a hectic week for the two teams that clash in Friday’s final as that’ll be their third match in five days.
“We get less time to practise,” Wang said. “It’s more of just recovering, clearing your head after every game and not thinking about it too much and I think that’s what we need to do.”
The Spartans finished the regular season in third place at 10-4, trailing first-place Ross (14-0) and second-place Guelph CVI Green Gaels (11-3). Centre Wellington was fourth at 9-5 and was followed by the Lourdes Crusaders (5-9), Bishop Mac (4-10), St. James Lions (3-11) and Orangeville Bears (0-14).
Centennial advances to Wednesday’s semifinals to play the Gaels at GCVI starting at 4 p.m.
“We just need to focus and get into the right mindset for GC,” Wang said. “We know they’re really good so if we clean stuff up (at practice Tuesday), we’ll be ready for them Wednesday.”
If the Spartans win that match, they’ll play the final on their own court Friday night as Centennial CVI will be the site of the championship doubleheader. The junior final is to go at 6 p.m. and the seniors are to follow at 8 p.m.
Guelph CVI won its quarter-final 3-0 over St. James Monday. The Gaels won 25-12, 25-11, 25-19.
Ross also won its quarter-final in a sweep, taking Orangeville 3-0. The Royals won 25-8, 25-12, 25-16.
Lourdes surprised Centre Wellington in the other quarter-final as the Crusaders won 3-2. Lourdes won 18-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-18, 16-14.
Wednesday’s other semifinal has Ross hosting Lourdes at 4 p.m.
Lourdes was also involved in a surprise in junior, but at the other end of the result.
The third-place Crusaders fell 3-0 to the sixth-place Ross Royals. Ross won three close ones — 27-25, 25-22, 26-24.
Centre Wellington had finished first at 10-4 while Bishop Mac won the tiebreaker with Lourdes to get second place after the Celtics and Crusaders finished with 9-5 records.
Centennial and GCVI also needed a tiebreaker to decide their finishing position and which team would host a quarter-final match between the two after they finished with 7-7 marks. Using the regular-season results between the two teams, the Spartans got to host the semifinal and it turned out to be a close one, too, with Centennial prevailing 3-2. The Spartans won 29-27, 23-25, 25-10, 18-25, 17-15.
Ross was sixth at 6-8, St. James seventh at 5-9 and Orangeville eighth at 3-11.
In the other quarter-final matches Monday, Centre Wellington swept Orangeville 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-11) and Bishop Mac swept St. James 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-16).
Wednesday’s semifinals are both scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Centennial is to play at Bishop Mac in one while Ross is to play at Centre Wellington in the other.