NPC eyes ‘next level’
Trojans continue strong season with win over Eagles in senior boys volleyball
With just a single loss following the first round of games in the Brant County high school senior boys volleyball season, how much better can the North Park Collegiate Trojans be?
“I think we can play a lot better,” said NPC’s Zac Colton after his team moved to 5-1 on the season following a 25-23, 25-11 and 25-23 win at St. John’s College on Thursday against the Green Eagles.
“I think we can really take it to the next level. We’re going to need to if we’re going to beat BCI, which I totally think we can do.”
Colton cited the SJC game as a good example of where improvements can be made.
Although they swept the Green Eagles in the best-of-five match, Colton said the team’s passes weren’t the best, it didn’t play fantastically on tips and they could get to the ball a bit quicker. But those are really minor things.
From the first game of the season until now, Colton said the Trojans have jelled well to improve on so many other things.
“I’m the only returning player,” said Colton, who helped lead NPC to the championship a year ago.
“We’ve got a bunch of new players. The Grade 11s know each other really well so that’s good. They’re all friends.
“The older kids have just blended in.”
That cohesion was evident early in Thursday’s match.
North Park jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of a Jacob Fischer hit and solid Stefan Stanisic serving before St. John’s came back to tie things on a key block by Nathan Martin.
St. John’s would eventually get ahead 7-6, thanks in part to a Josh Reed smash. And that lead was extended to 12-8 before the visitors stormed back with six straight points.
Following a Hayden Charlebois hit, the Trojans were up 19-16 and looked on their way to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five match.
However, the Green Eagles didn’t back down. And, at one point, SJC was ahead 23-20 before North Park scored the final five points of the set to take a 1-0 lead.
In the second set, Colton smashed his second spectacular spike of the game to help put the Trojans ahead 11-5. Excellent serving from James Birch and strong net play from Charlebois and Fischer helped push that lead out of reach as NPC overcame some strong net play from Martin to go ahead 2-0.
Racing out to an 8-2 lead in the third set, the Trojans looked to be safely ahead but, with Reed on the line, the Green Eagles fought back to cut their deficit to 11-9.
But North Park extended their lead and, although St. John’s battled back, a smash from Colton put the visitors ahead 24-22 and that point helped propel NPC to the win.
SJC’s Reed said his team, despite its 1-5 mark, is getting better.
“Right now we are playing better,” said the veteran player.
“We’re starting to get our heads in the game and learning to play volleyball.”
The loss dropped St. John’s record against North Park to 0-2 this season.
“As a team we wanted to win really bad (Thursday) so we came in with fire in our hearts to spank them,” said Reed.
“In the first set we showed that we can play with them.”
Reed said it’s too early to count SJC out of the playoff picture.
“We’re confident,” he said. “We’re coming at every team.
“Our heads are in the game and it’s time to go.”
Nathan Martin (left) of St. John's College spikes the ball in front of Hayden Charlebois of North Park Collegiate during a high school senior boys volleyball game on Thursday.