STRATFORD – Last week, St. Marys DCVI Junior boys volleyball team was involved in Huron-Perth Athletic Association playoff action on Tuesday, Nov. 6 and Thursday, Nov. 8.
The quarter and semi-finals were held here Tuesday at the Stratford Burnside Agriplex.
Quarter-finals against Madill
In regular-season action, the Junior Salukis played some very good volleyball and the Juniors came second overall in the H-P league standings. This resulted in Salukis going against the No. 7-seeded F.E. Madill Mustangs in the quarter-finals.
In the best-of-five series against the Mustangs, Salukis faced a team with nothing to lose. In the first set, a tense Salukis squad made multiple errors which resulted in the Wingham team collecting an easy win, 25-15.
In the second set, Salukis continued to look shaky at the start of the set, allowing Madill to jump to a commanding 17-8 lead. Down by a score of 21-10, it seemed like Salukis were going to go two games down, but a boost of confidence from all players allowed them to rally back to defeat the Mustangs 26-24.
In the third and fourth sets, the DCVI Juniors were able to maintain the momentum and went on to win the sets and the match by scores of 25-18 and 25-23.
Semi-finals against Central
In semi-final action later in the day, the Junior Salukis were up against the third-place team in league standings, Stratford Central Rams.
With lots of confidence from their comeback victory against the Mustangs, Salukis pumped out two quick wins by scores of 25-23 and 25-14.
In the third set, the Junior ‘Lukes got a case of over-confidence, allowing Rams to collect their first win by a count of 25-18.
Looking to seal the deal in the fourth set, the Rams and Salukis traded points the entire match, but St. Marys was able to collect a tight victory by a score of 25-23.
H-P final at St. Mikes
With their semi- final win, Ian Moore’s team advanced to the Huron-Perth Junior championship at St. Mikes on Thursday morning.
This was the first time in 10 years that a DCVI boys volleyball team had made it to the H-P final and the first time in a very long time that a Junior team had advanced to the conference championship.
In the final, St. Marys was up against the number 1 team in league play, St. Michael Catholic Secondary School. A big home crowd was on hand to support the Warriors.
In the opening set, Salukis and Warriors battled back and forth for the first 20 points of the set. The DCVI passers did a great job getting the ball to their setter. This allowed for a strong offence with power-hitters pounding on the Warriors’ defence.
Defensively the St. Marys middles minimized the effectiveness of the Warriors’ attack. With steady and consistent play, Salukis silenced the St. Mikes fans and rolled to a 25-19 victory.
In the second set, the Junior Salukis started strong, grabbing an early lead of 10-2. Unfortunately, the Salukis couldn’t maintain the momentum allowing the Warriors to slowly eat away at the lead. With the St. Mikes side gaining confidence, Salukis were unable to maintain their focus and lost the second set 25-21.
With one game apiece, and the momentum in favour of the Warriors, the St. Mikes offence began firing on all cylinders while the Salukis became stalled due to poor passing. Unable to get their confidence back, the DCVI squad lost the third and fourth sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-19.
Upcoming: The Junior Salukis’ 2012 season continues this Thursday when they travel to West Elgin to compete in the single ‘A’ WOSSAA championship.