Ross Royals back on top in senior boys’ volleyball
GUELPH – It might have been a little disjointed at times, but the Ross Royals claimed their fifth District 10 high school senior boys’ volleyball title in six seasons Monday night when they swept the Centennial Spartans in the championship match at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre.
“It wasn’t our tightest, sharpest play. That’s for sure,” said Ross coach Josh Ogden. “We’ve definitely played better. Both sides have played better. Maybe it’s just the nerves, the different atmosphere, but everybody seemed a little bit hesitant to really go for the big hits. It is what it is. I thought we played a pretty scrappy game, though — a lot of good defence, picking up extra balls, forcing extra touches. That’s what it took to win.”
The Royals took three close sets, winning 25-23, 26-24 and 25-17.
“They were close,” Bowie Bradley of the Royals said. “I’m a little disappointed it didn’t go to five because that’s always exciting when it’s last seconds, but I’m just glad we got the win.”
The victory avenged Centennial’s 3-0 triumph over Ross in last season’s final that was held more than two months after the semifinals.
“There were no spectators, either,” Bradley said. “It was nice to have people in the building for the final.”
How much does that help?
“Definitely a lot,” Bradley said. “When they were chanting ‘Let’s go Ross,’ that was very empowering. It was very encouraging.”
Last season’s victory came after Ross won every final from 2016 to 2019 inclusive. There were no high school sports in the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic.
The Royals and Spartans each had 9-1 records during the regular season, their losses being to each other. Both also had byes in the quarter-finals and posted 3-1 wins in the semifinals.
With the title win the Royals advance to the CWOSSA AAA tournament in Waterloo at RIM Park and Forest Heights CI Thursday.
“In the past the competition’s been a little bit more than we could handle, but with the break from COVID, the skill levels have kind of evened out a little bit,” Ogden said. “We’ll see. We’re going to go there and give it our best and try to get some wins.”
“I want to make it to the final and we’ll see at that point. I definitely want to make it far,” Bradley said. “I know that from my club team (K-W Predators) a couple of the school teams are very strong, but it’s nothing that we can’t compete against.”
The Royals are in a pool with Huron Heights Huskies of Kitchener and Owen Sound Wolves for the morning’s preliminary play. Teams in the other pool are the St. Benedict Saints of Cambridge, Waterloo CI Vikings and St. John’s Green Eagles of Brantford. Top two in each pool advance to the afternoon’s semifinals. Semifinal victors are to meet in the championship match at Forest Heights CI at 7:30 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal