Royals get a little space at top of senior volleyball loop
GUELPH – The Ross Royals gave themselves a little breathing room atop the District 10 high school senior boys’ volleyball league standings when they swept the Centennial Spartans 3-0 Thursday at Ross.
“Three very close games,” Ross coach Travis Oke said. “I liked the way my team took control of the game after 20 each time, although Centennial puts up a good fight.”
“They were close,” said Ross’s Braeden Sears. “We’re close with them almost every game we play with them.”
The Royals won 27-25, 25-22, 25-22.
“I think we were just really focused on the win and we all work together well,” Sears said. “We got it done in three.”
The Ross-Centennial senior boys’ volleyball rivalry has a long history and the teams are very familiar with one another, especially this year.
“We’ve played them six times and they’ve all been good matches,” Oke said. “There are no surprises. We’re not surprising them and they’re not surprising us.”
“We have a good rivalry going,” Sears said. “It’s always close. They’re fun games to play all the time.”
With the senior league’s membership down to five teams, each team plays each of its rivals three times. Thursday’s match was the third in league play between the Royals and Spartans and Ross won all three – 3-0 Sept. 24 at Centennial and 3-1 Oct. 8 at Ross being the other meetings. The Royals and Spartans also met three times in tournament play.
The Royals have had a successful season so far and seem to be hitting their strides as playoffs near.
“There was a little dip, but we’re back up now,” Sears said. “This was a good game and hopefully we’ll keep up on this and win the rest of our matches before playoffs.”
The win also assured the Royals of playing at home in their playoff opener.
“We at least locked up a home semifinal game which is all that matters,” Oke said.
The host of the lone quarter-final match (against St. James) and the hosts of the semifinal games get to play on their home courts. The championship match is set for Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. at the University of Guelph and will likely be in the old Mitchell Athletics Centre as both Gryphon varsity volleyball teams have home matches that night.
“There are four good teams in the league so it won’t matter who you play in the semifinals,” Oke said. “Each team is going to have to play well to win a semifinal game.”
“Anyone can really come out with the win, honestly,” Sears said.
Ross leads the league at 8-1 while Centennial is second at 6-5. They’re followed by the Guelph CVI Green Gaels at 5-5, Bishop Macdonell Celtics at 4-3 and St. James Lions at 0-9.
“It’s probably the strongest four teams (in a single season) since I’ve been coaching in District 10,” Oke said. “There’s more parity with the top four than I’ve ever seen. Any one of these four teams could win District 10.”
“We’ve got to stay focused and if we play like (we did Thursday), I feel like we can beat everyone (in D10),” Sears said. “We’ve just got to play as a team and play together.”
In Thursday’s other match, GCVI outlasted St. James 3-2 as the Gaels won 25-12, 13-25, 25-10, 24-26, 15-13.
Lourdes 3 Orangeville 2 (26-24, 6-25, 25-11, 15-25, 15-8)
Bishop Macdonell 3 Centre Wellington 2 (22-25, 30-32, 25-18, 25-13, 15-13)
Ross 3 Centennial 1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22)
- Guelph Sports Journal