The Lo-Ellen Park Knights and Lasalle Lancers senior boys volleyball teams will see each other at least a few more times in the coming weeks. A regular season match-up on Wednesday will be followed by another battle as part of the Cardinal Classic on the weekend.
Few will be surprised if this rivalry peaks with a tete a tete with the city banner on the line in mid-November.
This time however, for a change, the Knights may have a little momentum on their side.
The Lo-Ellen lads claimed top spot at the Chippewa Raiders Nipissing Invitational last weekend, sweeping past the Lancers 25-21, 25-17 in straight sets, after being forced to three in their semi-final outing with the Huntsville Lakers (25-22, 18-25, 15-10).
"That was our first win over Lasalle ever since I've been here," noted grade 12 Knights' setter Ryan Deresti. "We've gotten to a point where everyone was feeling it. We knew that we were close with them this year."
"We really wanted it," added Deresti.
After making their first OFSAA appearance in at least four years, attending the 2018 "AAA" Ontario playdowns last November in Windsor, the Knights were dealt a harsh dose of reality, posting an 0-4 record and claiming only a singular set in round robin play.
"I think we felt we would be a lot better this year, because we have many more grade twelves than we did last year," said Deresti. "We have a bit more experience, with a couple of guys having played club ball last year."
"I think we're hoping to make it back to OFSAA and do better than last year."
The 2019 Lo-Ellen Park Knights feature a lineup of William Thistle, Eric Dissanayake, Sam Dewit, Kurtis Wennerstrom, Ethan Rogers, Thomas Bourdon, Laydon Bursey, Caelan Mantle, Jaden Martin, Jacob Schweyer, Ryan Deresti, Jack Sheehan, Logan Spicer, head coach James Schweyer, ass't coach Tim Thistle and manager Jeff Bursey.
Turns out Saturday was a great day, all around, for Lo-Ellen boys volleyball as the junior Knights stopped Lasalle in their tournament semi-final (26-24, 25-21) before taking down the host Chippewa Raiders, 25-22, 25-20.
The gold medal winning junior Knights were Ethan Scott, Callum Bertrand, Asher Kolari, Nathan Gravel, Luke Horner, Calen Jutila, Abdi Koulbou, Nathan Lintion, Dax Mazzuchin, Nathan Robinson, Jake Sandblom, Malcolm Teddy and head coach Dane MacVeigh.