Ax­e­men hun­gry to win third straight ti­tle

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY JOSH LEWIS

Win­ning the P.E.I. School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion’s se­nior AAA boys volleyball league two years in a row tends to put a tar­get on your back.

That is the re­al­ity the Three Oaks Ax­e­men will face on Satur­day as they host the an­nual Domino’s tip-off tour­na­ment. The two-time de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons will face teams from Blue­field, Char­lot­te­town Ru­ral and Mon­tague in the first tour­na­ment of the sea­son for all four teams.

Three Oaks ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Joel Arse­nault said the ob­ject at the end of the sea­son re­mains the same this year.

“I think if you talk to the guys on the team, that would cer­tainly be their goal, to be in the cham­pi­onship game and come away with a ban­ner.” Steve Boyd is the squad’s head coach this year af­ter shar­ing the role with Arse­nault pre­vi­ously.

Arse­nault said some Mar­itime teams weren’t able to make it, so the event will be scaled back slightly as a fourteam tour­na­ment. Rather than hav­ing a play­off round, the team with the best record fol­low­ing the roundrobin will be awarded the cham­pi­onship tro­phy. “We’ll get to see how we stack up against other teams in the league.

“It’s the first com­pe­ti­tion for ev­ery­body, so it’s a chance

to get out and play, and give ev­ery­body a shot be­fore league play starts on Mon­day.” Arse­nault said the Ax­e­men will par­tic­u­larly rely on se­nior starter Ethan Boyd.

“He’ll be one of the top power hit­ters in the league this year.” Grade 10 stu­dent Ben MacDougall will be asked to step into a start­ing role this year. Arse­nault said the ros­ter is pretty evenly dis­trib­uted among the three grades. There are a cou­ple of in­juries at the mo­ment, but the ath­let­ics di­rec­tor is bullish about his team’s chances.

“We’re pretty op­ti­mistic go­ing into the sea­son that we’ll com­pete for a medal.” League play is com­prised of six Island schools which each play a home-and-home se­ries against one an­other. The Ax­e­men will also com­pete in five tour­na­ments this year. Other mem­bers of the ros­ter in­clude Kam­den Arse­nault, Bran­don Hast­ings, Lo­gan Cameron, Justin Caron, Con­nor Lilly, Tyler Mac­don­ald, Blake MacKin­non, Dy­lan Noo­nan, Jack Somers, Cameron Wall and Kur­tis Paula.

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