Salukis also qualify for WOSSAA ‘A’ this week in London
By Pat Payton
STRATFORD – The DCVI Senior boys volleyball team was just one set from reaching the championship final at the Huron-Perth Conference playoff tournament here last Tuesday at the Stratford Agri-plex.
Facing the perennially-strong Stratford St. Mikes Warriors in the afternoon semi-finals, Steve Chateauvert’s Salukis dropped the first two sets, 25-15 and 25-20. However, Salukis fought back and won the next two sets, 25-23 and 25-23, to even the best-of-five match 2-2. Warriors took the fifth and deciding set 15-6 to advance to the H-P final.
“I think we came into the match a little bit nervous,” coach Chateauvert said. “It’s always tough going up against a bigger school that has a deeper talent pool. After we lost those first two sets, I told the boys they had nothing to lose. I really encouraged Duncan Massie and Jake Littlejohn to keep swinging, and Duncan caught fire and didn’t seem to miss. That was a huge part of our success.”
Chateauvert said his team also picked up their defensive play. “In the back row, the guys gave that little extra effort to prevent balls from hitting the floor. Unfortunately, in the fifth set, maybe the nerves returned and we got off to a slow start. It wasn’t our best volleyball, but that’s the way it goes.”
In the other H-P semi-final, the undefeated and first-place Stratford Secondary Schools swept Listowel Lightning, 25-8, 25-14 and 25-14.
In last Thursday’s conference final at Northwestern, Stratford SS (amalgamated school) hosted St. Mikes and defeated the Warriors in three sets, 25-18, 25-14 and 25-20.
Qualify for WOSSAA ‘A’ this week
Last Tuesday morning, a 3-1 quarter-final win over Mitchell Blue Devils proved to be huge as it earned the Senior Salukis a spot in the WOSSAA ‘A’ championships this week (Nov. 12) at London Christian.
Salukis won the first set 25-18, but the Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead and took the second set 25-21 — reducing the match to a best-of-three.
In the pivotal third set, the teams were tied 11-11 approaching the midway mark. The momentum swung to the Salukis as they won five straight points and went on to a 25-21 victory. “Jarod Medd went back to serve, and he racked up a few key points for us at that point,” coach Chateauvert noted.
It seemed to take the wind out of the Blue Devils’ sails as Mitchell came out flat in the fourth set. In that fourth set, St. Marys built commanding leads of 7-2, 10-3 and 16-6 and cruised to a rather easy 25-12 win.
“I think we passed pretty well in the whole match,” Chateauvert said following the quarter-final victory. “We had to adjust our defence a little bit to pick up a lot more tips. I think that was the big difference in the fourth set. We let a lot of those drop in the first couple of sets.”
The coach also noted that his squad didn’t make a lot of “unforced errors” against Mitchell.
Among the DCVI standouts were Jack Thorup (good setting), Duncan Massie (strong hitting), and all-round solid play by Medd, Simon Duncan, Scott Bishop and Jake Littlejohn.