Debate among yourselves which team enjoyed the more noteworthy win Monday night in the SDSSAA finals: the junior or senior Lockerby boys’ volleyball team.
With a pair of new banners to their credit, the Vikings are not about to split hairs.
A few weeks ago, the Lockerby seniors were a confident lot, walking off with tournament titles in three separate events and taking down the Lasalle Lancers (city champions in eight of the past nine years) in two of those finals.
Then came the final match of regular season play, a five set loss to the New Sudbury juggernaut with post-season play awaiting right around the corner.
“I think we came in a little too confident with the wins that we had against them in tournaments,” suggested left side James Bertrim, a day after he and the Vikes flipped the script with a 26-24, 25-21, 25-23 sweep of Lasalle - in the LancerDome, no less. “I’m not sure that we took into account that Cale (Lasalle leading hitter Cale Bast) was injured in one tournament and (coach) Dale Beausoleil was gone for the other.”
And while Lockerby faced a sea of orange and black back on November 2nd when they were felled 23-25, 19-25, 27-25, 25-19, 14-16 by Lasalle, the playing field felt much more level in the SDSSAA championship rematch. “We were backed by our whole school,” stated Bertrim. “We had so many students come out – it was awesome to see.”
“I’m not sure if you’ve been to a Lasalle volleyball game recently, but they are loud; very loud. We hadn’t seen much of that during the season.”
While both the Lancers and Vikes were undoubtedly itching to take to the court in the evening finale, their patience would be tested thanks to a five-set junior Division I classic. “We did our warm-ups, but it was hard to stop the boys from going back in and checking on the scores,” said Bertrim.
“We watched the 32-30 (set) and that’s when everyone got really excited.”
Truth be told, the excitement was maintained in the crowd from start to finish as the Lockerby juniors outlasted the Macdonald-Cartier Panthères 25-19, 25-27, 32-30, 25-27, 15-9 in an encounter that easily surpassed the two-hour mark.
After falling in straight sets (23-25, 20-25, 20-25) in their regular season matchup with ESMC, the Vikings turned things around in a final that could have easily gone either way. “We could not get a serve in (in the regular season game) and that kind of brings our mood down and we don’t play as well,” noted attacker and team captain Ryder Coe.
“And if we can get our serve receive to our setter, our attack is very strong – which leads to most of our points. That’s what we had to tighten up on for the finals.”
And while the gold medal game was effectively played in a neutral setting (at Lasalle Secondary), Coe suggested that the Panthères’ faithful definitely made their presence felt in the marathon match. “The crowd for the other team was trying to mess us up,” said the accomplished golfer and multi-sport athlete.
“We kind of had to find a way to silence the noise out and really focus in.”
With only two teams entered in the novice division, the finalists were pre-determined with the Horizon Aigles claiming bragging rights thanks to a 25-18, 25-22, 25-18 win over the Bishop Carter Gators.
Following are complete rosters for the three teams that walked away as city champions:Lockerby Vikings - Senior Boys
Coach - Stephen Beausoleil
Lockerby Vikings - Junior Boys
Coach - Stephen Beausoleil
Assistant Coach - Tamara McNair
Horizon Aigles - Novice Boys
Coach: Pamela Ross
Assistant Coach: Nathalie Martin-Boudreau