Lasalle Lancers still fending off the contenders
by Randy Pascal
There may not yet be a team ready to dethrone the four time senior high school boys volleyball champions, but there is no doubt that the contenders to
the Lasalle Lancers' dynasty are beginning to close the gap.
Favourites to repeat and coming off a fourth place finish (antique bronze) at the OFSAA "AA" Boys Volleyball Championships in Brockville last
November, the Lancers were pushed to the limit in the championship match of the Cardinal Classic at St Charles College this past weekend.
The Lasalle lads cruised through pool play without dropping a set, bouncing the Espanola Spartans in the semis before besting the Lo-Ellen
Park Knights, 25-20, 17-25, 15-6 in the gold medal encounter.
"I feel like the league has improved a lot," said veteran setter Mike Babcock, a Lancer mainstay through three straight appearances at the
provincial championships. "A lot of these teams are trying to get up to our level. With us being who we are, it makes the league better. They get to see
how we play, because we go down south more often."
Demonstrating the ability to cruise through the entire SDSSAA regular season and playoff schedule without dropping a single set in recent years, the
Lancers have already been forced to a fourth set in their season opener against the Knights.
"We have a couple of young guys who are still learning how things work (at senior level), with the tempo, still learning the game," added Babcock.
"Lo-Ellen has a great team this year. Today was a great fight, a lot of fun. It's good to see some good volleyball in the city."
An accomplished basketball talent in his own right, Babcock has worked hard to show improvement, over the years, in his critical role as a setter with the
volleyball team. "I am still working on my footwork," he said. "I need to be able to get to the ball, get under it faster, so that my hitters can succeed."
The 2018 edition of the Lasalle senior team features Cameron Alisappi, Kurtis Terris, Jason Diotte, Jesse Chisholm, Parker Farstad, David Pigozzo,
Kepler Salt, Nicholas Burke, Kyle Brouillette, Logan Nicholls and Mike Babcock.