Lancers rely on depth, de­fence to win ti­tle

Ur­su­line ad­vances to SWOSSAA fi­nal af­ter un­seat­ing CKSS

The Chatham Daily News - - SPORTS - DAILY NEWS STAFF

The Ur­su­line Lancers are one win away from their first OFSAA ap­pear­ance in four years.

They’ll visit the St. Anne Saints in the SWOSSAA ‘AAA’ se­nior boys’ volleyball fi­nal at 6:30 p.m. Thurs­day in Lakeshore.

The win­ner moves on to the OFSAA tour­na­ment Nov. 23-25 in Kitch­ener and Water­loo.

The Lancers used their strong ar­se­nal of hit­ters to beat the three-time de­fend­ing cham­pion Chatham-Kent Golden Hawks 3-1 in the LKSSAA fi­nal Fri­day at Ur­su­line.

“The Hawks fo­cused on Ai­den An­jema down the mid­dle, so Luca Bernardi moved the ball to the wings as Cal O’Hara, Ry­lan Burm & Dy­lan McGre­gor pro­vided much of the of­fence,” Lancers head coach Jeff Denomy wrote to the Daily News. “Cal, Ry­lan and Dy­lan com­bined to have 40 kills in the match.”

The top-seeded Lancers won 25-17, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16.

“Although Ai­den An­jema was held in check at times, he did ex­plode for big hits to fin­ish off both Games 1 and 2 send­ing the bois­ter­ous crowd into a frenzy,” Denomy wrote. “Ai­den was dom­i­nant block­ing through­out the match, in­clud­ing four blocks down the stretch in Game 2.”

The Lancers are an ex­pe­ri­enced team that fo­cuses on de­fence. Libero Dy­lan Buchanan and de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Finn O’Brien led them in the fi­nal with a to­tal of 12 digs.

Of­fen­sively, the Lancers had 98 swings in the match but hit only four balls out, Denomy wrote.

Their vic­tory ended the Golden Hawks’ re­mark­able streak of 17 con­sec­u­tive OFSAA ap­pear­ances.

“Ev­ery time we played CKSS this year they im­proved,” Denomy wrote. “(Fri­day) was no dif­fer­ence as this is the best I’ve seen them play all year. CKSS forced us to work hard in prac­tice ev­ery day as we knew the road to SWOSSAA had to go through them. We had great re­spect for them and played hard ev­ery point un­til the fi­nal whis­tle.”

The Lancers’ last OFSAA trip was in 2013.

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