Roy­als still reign on vol­ley­ball court

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - SPORTS - GREG COWAN SUN TIMES STAFF

It’s good to be king. The Saugeen District Roy­als se­nior boys vol­ley­ball squad re­mained per­fect on their way to the Blue­wa­ter Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onship in Owen Sound.

The Roy­als won ev­ery set in both the semi­fi­nal and fi­nal on Thurs­day to take the crown.

“I think we were fairly con­fi­dent,” said head coach Al Gun­drum of his team’s mind­set head­ing into the two-game cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment. “If we took care of the ball on our side of the court we were go­ing to be OK.”

The Roy­als were 6-0 in the reg­u­lar sea­son, top­ping all South Divi­sion teams. Their first test in the semi­fi­nal on Thurs­day was the un­de­feated Owen Sound District Wolves, 6-0 them­selves atop the North Divi­sion and host­ing the cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment.

Saugeen wasted no time tak­ing an early 16-6 lead be­fore the Wolves took a time­out in the first set.

The Roy­als cleaned up ev­ery­thing hit their way by the Wolves and sent it back with force.

Nolan Dereski, Nathan Van Myall and Sam Maksymyk made their liv­ing at the net while team cap­tain Luc Nus­selder set up the plays for the Roy­als.

That com­bi­na­tion held court as Saugeen wrapped up the first set 25-9.

The Wolves got a lit­tle nas­tier in the sec­ond set, but the Roy­als were able to take it 25-12 with Nus­selder fin­ish­ing Owen Sound off with back-to-back points off the serve.

Fi­nally, in the third set, the Wolves forced the Roy­als to take a time­out as they ral­lied to an 18-18 tie. Saugeen knocked off the next five straight points be­fore win­ning 25-20 to take the match in straight sets.

“My team has put in a lot of ex­tra time in train­ing and play­ing out­side of the school year. I think that ex­pe­ri­ence makes a dif­fer­ence,” said Gun­drum.

The Walk­er­ton River­hawks were wait­ing on the Roy­als in the cham­pi­onship. New BAA play­off rules this year re­sulted in the top-seeded CWOSSA qual­i­fier re­ceiv­ing a bye to the fi­nal.

De­spite a 1-5 record in the reg­u­lar sea­son the River­hawks didn’t look out of place against the Roy­als in the fi­nal.

Strong net play by Evan Visser and Ethan Cud­ney had Walk­er­ton District neck-and-neck with the Roy­als un­til mid­way through the first set when Dereski took over.

He drove the ball through the River­hawks de­fence as the Roy­als broke away. Dereski’s rocket of a spike for the Roy­als 25th point put an ex­cla­ma­tion point on Saugeen’s first set vic­tory.

The River­hawks came to play. In the sec­ond set Walk­er­ton seemed to frus­trate the Roy­als into un­forced er­rors and long serves.

Once again Gun­drum took a time­out with the score tied 18-18.

“We had to re­fo­cus on our goal and limit our er­rors, you can’t be too con­ser­va­tive when you’re play­ing, you have to be ag­gres­sive. Er­rors are part of the game, but you can’t let them turn the game on you,” the coach said.

The move worked. The Roy­als came back on the floor and went on a 7-1 run to take the sec­ond set 25-19.

The fight then faded away from Walk­er­ton. The Roy­als cruised to a third and fi­nal set win, 25-12. Maksymyk’s drive ended the game and started the medal cer­e­mony.

The Roy­als will now try and de­fend their CWOSSA Boys ‘AA’ Vol­ley­ball ti­tle start­ing on Nov. 14 in Sim­coe.

Owen Sound District will rep­re­sent the BAA at the CWOSSA Boys ‘AAA’ Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship in Water­loo on Nov. 15.

Walk­er­ton District is headed to the CWOSSA Boys ‘A’ Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment in Bres­lau.

MATT ADAM/THE SUN TIMES

Nolan Dereski loads up at the net as his Saugeen District Roy­als beat Walk­er­ton District in straight sets to win the Blue­wa­ter Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion se­nior boys vol­ley­ball ti­tle in Owen Sound on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

GREG COWAN/THE SUN TIMES

Nolan Dereski watches on af­ter he drives the ball be­tween two Owen Sound District de­fend­ers as his Saugeen District Roy­als de­feat the Wolves in the Blue­wa­ter Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion se­nior boys vol­ley­ball semi­fi­nal in Owen Sound on Thurs­day.

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