After finishing first in their pool at OFSAA ‘A’ volleyball championships
By Pat Payton
KENORA – St. Marys Salukis’ hopes of an OFSAA medal came to a heartbreaking end here last Tuesday when they lost a five-set marathon in the championship quarter-finals.
Sixteen teams competed in the All-Ontario Senior girls ‘A’ volleyball championships Mar. 4-6.
Salukis, the No. 3 seed representing WOSSAA, cruised through preliminary-round play, going 3-0 and finishing first in Pool ‘B’. In the quarter-finals Tuesday night, St. Marys faced off against No. 6 seed E.S. Pere Rene de Galinee (PRDG) high school, which had finished second in Pool ‘A’.
The match against the Cambridge school couldn’t have been much closer. In three of the sets, all won by PRDG, extra points were needed to determine the winner.
PRDG won the opening set 27-25, but Salukis bounced back in the second set for a 25-15 win. After PRDG took the third set 27-25, DCVI forced a fifth and deciding match with a 25-16 victory.
In the fifth set, the score was tied 9-9 at one point. St. Marys then held a 14-13 lead, but the Cambridge team won the last three points to claim a 16-14 decision and a berth in the semi-finals.
“We made a few too many errors at critical points in the match,” coach Steve Chateauvert said from Kenora. “In the first set, we missed six serves and we lost by two points. But we came right back and had a good win in the second set.
“In the third set, we had a six or seven-point lead, but just couldn’t side them out. They eventually tied it and then went on to win the set. We came back in the fourth set, and took it to them again, and tied it up at two games apiece.
“In the fifth set, we got down a little early, but battled back again and were one point from winning it. Unfortunately, we lost the last three points. It was a heartbreaker for sure.”
On Monday, Salukis opened with a pair of wins, defeating No. 14 seed ESC EJ LaJeunesse from Windsor, 25-19 and 25-16, and No. 9 seed Durham Christian from Bowmanville, 25-17 and 25-18.
“We played consistently well,” coach Chateauvert said. “I don’t think we played exceptionally well, but the girls did what they needed to do to win. Everybody had some time on the court, and it’s good to be 2-0 after the first day.”
Selected as the No. 3 seed in the tournament was a fair ranking for his team, Chateauvert said.
“We are behind the two teams that beat us last year,” he noted. “(ESAC) Mere Teresa (from Hamilton) beat us in the bronze-medal game, and the University of Toronto Schools beat us in the semi-finals last year. We watched both of them play (March 4) and they look good.
“We’ll pick it up and crank up the intensity once we get out of our pool and into the elimination matches when more is on the line. We feel these girls strive when the matches are a little more intense and they get a little more fired up.”
On Tuesday morning, Salukis played No. 8 seed Holy Trinity from Richmond Hill and won easily by scores of 25-11 and 25-10. The win gave DCVI a 3-0 record and first place in their pool.
Note: No. 1 seed ESAC Mere Teresa swept No. 2 seed University of Toronto Schools three straight in Wednesday’s championship final. E.S. Pere Rene de Galinee won the bronze medals.