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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
Third set service run leads the Knights past the Jaguars
by Randy Pascal

Trailing 24-19, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights intermediate girls volleyball team had little margin for error. With the ball in her hands, server Siobhan Noble-Poland had even less.

Seven consecutive serves later, broken up with a pair of opposing timeouts, attempting to freeze the steely-nerved 13 year old, and the Knights would capture a key 26-24 third set victory, paving the way for a Rainbow Elementary Board championship banner.

Lo-Ellen would take down the C.R. Judd Jaguars 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 25-9, with the momentum of the match swinging noticeably on the impressive service run of the multi-sport athlete from the south end school.

"I get kind of nervous, but it's better not to show it, and you have to breathe," said Noble-Poland. Her attention to the task at hand was uncompromised, even as long-time Judd coach Craig Thompson attempted to throw off her rhythm, calling a pair of timeouts just two points apart.

"When you go for timeouts, I kind of just stayed out of them and stayed in my own little zone," said Noble-Poland. "I don't want to lose concentration. If I am serving, I pay attention, but I don't want to think too much about it. I just keep my focus."

The strategy worked as Lo-Ellen leveraged the excitement of their third set win, pulling out to leads of 10-5 and 19-7 in the fourth, and completing a very memorable season for the experienced crew.

"Last year, we went to the finals, but sadly, we lost," said Noble-Poland. "This year, we were really determined to win. We have a good coach (Richard Breault) and he was really helping us along."

The contest provided for an interesting match-up between the two setters, as both Noble-Poland and Ashley Ruddick, of C.R. Judd, are teammates on the same Northern Chill Volleyball Club team.

"They are really trying to get me to do fancy sets, which I just haven't done in the past," said Noble-Poland. "Last year, I tripped over my own feet trying to set." Rounding out the gold medal winning roster are Alyzée Bisaillon, Sophia Oommen, Samantha Bourdon, Mathilde Fleury, Syla Swords, Sophie Alexander, Allison Nordquist, Lauryn Vendetti, Julia Arnold, Jazmin Mullen and Amanda Bourdon.

Returning to Capreol with silver medals were Ashley Ruddick, Emma Harris, Madison Roy, Kendra Desrochers, Rylee Thompson, Eli Groves and Alexa Kneblewski.

In the boys championship affair, the Northeastern Cougars completed a near flawless campaign, not losing a single set, winning every tournament they entered, and closing the books on 2018 with a straight set Rainbow title triumph over the Lo-Ellen Park Knights, 25-23, 25-17, 25-15.

A veteran of the Northeastern program dating back to his grade three season, Calvin "Sam" Hull acknowledged that the play of his team, this year, bears little resemblance to their starting point almost a half-decade ago.

"It's a lot faster pace, and there's more hitting, more digging, better serves," said Hull. "Defensively, we are strong, and we put balls to the sides, versus the middle, so it's harder for them to get to it."

While Hull admitted he has worked steadily to improve his ability to set to the team's most effective attacker, left-side Cale Bast, the reality is that the Cougars spread the ball around nicely, running their offense with far more regularity than most of their opponents.

Joining Hull and Bast in securing the championship banner were André Boulet, Brady Tyson, Ethan Lalonde, Derek Bates, Aiden Chretien, Nathan Cranston, Caleb Proulx and head coach Dale Beausoleil.

Guided by coach Lise Vézina, the Knights' squad included Owen Dobson, Dominic Morris, Jordan Fergani, Kaeden Ward, Scott Coles, Abdi Koulbou, Malcolm Teddy, Nolan Kulhberg and Jordan Schweyer.

Following is a listing of the remaining medal winners, as provided by tournament organizers:

Girls Division A
Bronze - Valley View
Antique Bronze - MacLeod

Boys Division A
Bronze - C.R. Judd
Antique Bronze - Confederation

Girls Division B
Gold - Northeastern
Silver - Lo-Ellen

Boys Division B
Gold - Lo-Ellen
Silver - Northeastern

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