It’s the usual, Ross and Centennial in volleyball finals
GUELPH – Not really anything new here as the Ross Royals and Centennial Spartans are to meet next week to decide the District 10 high school senior boys’ volleyball championship.
Both advanced to the final with semifinal sweeps Wednesday.
Monday’s championship match will mark the fifth time in six seasons that the Royals and Spartans have met to decide league honours.
Ross won the final 3-2 in 2018, 3-1 in 2017 and 3-0 in 2016 while Centennial won 3-0 in 2015.
Ross is to enter the championship match with a four-season hold on the final as the Royals also won in 2019 as they swept the Bishop Macdonell Celtics 3-0.
The Spartans and Ross had finished one-two in the league standings with Centennial on top at 7-0 following a 3-2 win over Ross Monday at Ross. The Royals finished at 5-3.
Wednesday, Ross swept third-place Guelph CVI Green Gaels 3-0, winning 25-15, 25-11, 25-22 while Centennial swept fourth-place Lourdes Crusaders 3-0, winning 25-13, 25-18, 25-14 at Centennial.
For the Royals and likely every other team in the league, just playing again has made the season a success.
“It’s just one of those things where our team is excited,” Ross coach Elliot Shrive said. “We’re excited that volleyball’s back so our team is excited to play as many games as we possibly can. We’re really looking forward to Monday.”
Teams hit the floor about two weeks before the start of the regular season, making it difficult to make up for the season lost to the pandemic in terms of the fluidity of play.
“With seven games, a short season, once we got the go ahead we started. Before that, there were no touches,” Shrive said. “That’s why this year has been about fundamentals, communicating and making sure that everybody on the team is on the same page. I’ve said this before, I’m very, very fortunate to have the type of character players we have on this team. We have 11 guys on the team and every single guy has contributed throughout the season. As coaches, we’re very fortunate to have those guys.”
Wednesday, Ross took advantage of GCVI’s errors, especially their serving woes as they committed many unforced errors with serves straight into the net. The Royals weren’t perfect on their serves either as their unforced errors tended to be serves that sailed too far and landed out of bounds.
“The big thing we’re working on right now is just getting touches on the volleyball,” Shrive said of Ross’s practices. “We keep going back to passing, communicating on the court and just being comfortable with the volleyball. It’s tough to do in a short season, but that’s our goal moving forward.”
When the Royals and Spartans get to the court Monday, their previous meeting will be fresh on their minds with it coming exactly a week before the final.
“It’s always good to see a team before you play them (in a championship match),” Shrive said. “The unknown is always scary so we’re fortunate we’ve had the opportunity to play them. But from a coaching standpoint and a team standpoint, we’re just focusing on what we can control. That’s kind of our mentality going forward, controlling the ball and what we can control, we’re going to control.”
Monday’s final at Centennial is set for 4:10 p.m. Spectators are not allowed due to COVID protocols.
It’s to be a Centennial-Ross championship doubleheader Monday at Centennial as the Spartans and Royals won semifinal matches Wednesday.
The Spartans came back to edge the Bishop Macdonell Celtics 3-2 after dropping the first two sets. Centennial won 22-25, 23-25, 28-26, 25-19, 15-10.
Ross swept the Centre Wellington Falcons 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-21).
Centennial had finished the regular season a perfect 7-0 while Ross was second at 6-1. The Spartans defeated the Royals 3-1 at Ross in regular-season play Monday, winning a close one 25-19, 25-27, 25-23, 26-24.
Whoever wins Monday’s final puts an end to a three-season hold on the honours by the Guelph CVI Green Gaels who won in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Ross last won in 2016 while Centennial last won in 2015.
The junior final Monday is to begin at 5:45 p.m., shortly after the completion of the senior final.
- Guelph Sports Journal