(WINDSOR, ON) – A wildly successful provincial championship was held at the St Clair SportsPlex over the weekend as the 8 best women’s volleyball teams in Ontario descended on Windsor for the 2016-17 OCAA finals.
Action got underway Friday as the No. 2 ranked Durham Lords disposed of the Fanshawe Falcons by a match score of 3-0. The tournament’s 3rd seed, Niagara Knights, then dispatched the Cambrian Golden Shield 3-1 before the top ranked Humber Hawks defeated the Loyalist Lancers 3-1.
The most exciting match of the opening play came when the host St Clair Saints needed 5 sets to best the Algonquin Thunder 3-2. Apart from the play on the court, the home town fans helped push the Saints over the top.
“The crowd was awesome, especially in tight spots, late in the 20s, we got the crowd behind us,” said Saints head coach Jimmy El-Turk. “That little spark, that little boost of energy, that was really helpful.”
Moving into the Saturday matchups, Fanshawe outlasted Cambrian 3-2 to enter the consolation final against Algonquin, who had little trouble with Loyalist, beating them 3-1.
In the evening, Durham escaped a comeback attempt by Niagara as they won 3-1. The match looked to be in control after the Lords jumped into a 2-0 lead, but a spirited 25-22 effort by the Knights drew them back into the match. Durham was too strong, however, and won the marathon 25-21 final set to earn a berth in the gold medal game.
Again the Saints played in the final match of the day when they hosted Humber with the second placement in the championship match on the line. St Clair led most of the first set but faltered toward the end and allowed the Hawks to edge them out for the first win. Humber then needed to go into overtime during the second set, narrowly defeating St Clair 27-25.
The Saints did not give up, however, and pushed the province’s No. 1 team in the third set. Though Humber again won, this time 25-23, the St Clair effort was commendable in the face of the perennial volleyball powerhouse.
First out of the gate on Sunday, Fanshawe quickly ousted Algonquin from the tournament 3-0, as the Thunder appeared to have lost steam.
In the bronze medal contest, Niagara needed 5 sets to finish off the ever pesky Saints. Down 2 sets to none, St Clair mounted a comeback which would see them tie the match at 2-2 before bowing out in the deciding set 15-12.
The gold medal match was almost anti-climatic as Humber needed just 3 sets to claim the OCAA championship over the Durham Lords. The win by Humber was their 10th straight OCAA women’s volleyball championship gold medal.