Green Gaels get ready for semis with quarter-final sweep
GUELPH – The Guelph CVI Green Gaels tuned up for the semifinals in District 10 high school senior boys’ volleyball by sweeping the St. James Lions Monday in the lone quarter-final match.
Top three teams at the end of the regular season received byes in the quarter-finals while the fourth-placed team hosted the fifth-place finisher in the quarter-final match.
To be playing in the quarter-final and staying fresh for the semifinals might have been a good thing for the Gaels.
“We didn’t play well enough to deserve a bye anyway so that’s it,” GCVI coach Leann Reynolds said. “You play well enough and you get the bye. We’ve never had a season where three teams had a bye. This is weird, but I think we needed (the quarter-final match) because we haven’t played well against St. James and we haven’t played well lately. Having some success and winning three straight gives us momentum and helps us prepare for Ross.”
The Ross Royals finished first at 10-2 while the Bishop Macdonell Celtics were second at 8-4 and the only team to beat the Royals in league play this season and they did it twice. Centennial Spartans and GCVI finished at 6-6 with Centennial getting third by taking two of its three regular-season matches with the Gaels. St. James was fifth at 0-12.
Monday, the Gaels defeated the Lions 25-17, 25-16, 25-15 in a match that saw them improve on their play of the final two or three weeks of the regular season.
“I haven’t had my full squad for two or three weeks,” Reynolds said. “My starting libero and my starting right side were injured so I didn’t have them. They were both playing today. They hadn’t played for three weeks, but they did great.”
By winning their quarter-final, the Gaels advance to Wednesday’s semifinals where they’ll play the Royals at Ross.
“We really should have finished second or third and we didn’t and that’s reality and now we’ve got the No. 1 team,” Reynolds said. “But you’ve got to beat them anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the semis or the finals, you’ve got to beat them. Whether you knock off the first-place team in the semis or the finals – the semis would be nice.”
This year’s league was thought to be closer at the top than it has been for a few years and any of the four teams in the semifinals can win the title. Bishop Mac hosts Centennial in the other semifinal.
“Anybody that’s on and hot can win,” Reynolds said. “BM’s beat Ross twice so I think anybody can win.”
Both semifinals are to go Wednesday starting at 4 p.m.
The winners advance to Friday’s championship match in the West Gym of the University of Guelph’s Mitchell Athletics Centre. Opening serve is set for 8 p.m.
The Guelph CVI Green Gaels posted the only surprise of Monday’s junior quarter-finals as they defeated the Lourdes Crusaders 3-1. GCVI won 25-21, 25-10, 20-25, 26-24.
The Gaels had finished the regular season in fifth place while Lourdes was fourth and the Crusaders had also won both regular-season meetings between the teams.
The home teams won the other three quarter-final matches as the Ross Royals swept the St. James Lions 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-11), Bishop Macdonell Celtics edged the Centennial Spartans 3-2 (25-11, 25-16, 24-26, 25-27, 15-7) and the Centre Wellington Falcons nipped the Orangeville Bears 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 15-9).
Ross had finished the regular season first at 13-1 and was followed by Bishop Macdonell at 12-2, Centre Wellington and Lourdes both at 9-5, GCVI at 6-8, Orangeville at 4-10, Centennial at 2-12 and St. James at 1-13.
Wednesday’s semifinals have GCVI playing at Ross at 4 p.m. and Centre Wellington playing at Bishop Mac at 4 p.m.
The semifinal winners are to meet in Friday’s 6 p.m. final at the Mitchell Athletics Centre’s West Gym.
- Guelph Sports Journal