Men's volleyball place fourth in CCAAs
Credit: JUSTIN FOX
Fanshawe Falcons' men's volleyball team was on a wild ride March 8 to March 11 with a couple losses and a number of wins to get to the bronze medal match of the CCAAs. Though they gave it their all, they lost by two points against the Medicine Hat Rattlers.
The tournament, which ran March 8 to 11 saw eight Canadian teams vouch for the top spot in the country, with the Red Deer Kings taking home gold, followed by Titans de Limoilou in second and Medicine Hat Rattlers winning bronze.
The crowds were strong for most of the games, all decked out in red and white, cheering on the Falcons through every game.
The Falcons had a rough go, losing all three sets in their first game to the Kings.
“Just disappointing. The crowd was amazing. Wish we could still be playing right now and give them something to cheer about. It’s just disappointing that we didn’t execute the stuff we’ve been talking about for two weeks,” head coach Patrick Johnston said.
Johnston said that the team had a great day leading up to their first game, but perhaps it was “too much” since most of the players on the team may not have ever played in front of large crowd like that, it may have contributed to their loss.
According to Johnston, although this wasn’t the start the team wanted, they weren’t going to back down.
“I’ll say this… the times we haven’t won a gold, the guys have done a really good job in bouncing back from defeat. So they are resilient that way, I feel pretty good they will be able to sleep this one off maybe.”
The Falcons Player of the Game was outside hitter Sam Otten, with 10 points, eight kills, two aces and seven digs.
The Falcons were set to play their second game slotted for March 9 against the Mohawk Mountaineers, a team the Falcons are all too familiar with.
The Falcons went on to win this second bronze quarter-final against the Mountaineers, in a tough match that went up to five sets; the Falcons won the last set 15-12.
This clinched the Falcons a spot in the semi-final match for a bronze medal.
“Any time we play against Mohawk, it’s always a pretty spicy affair and with these two teams it can go either way. I’m just glad it went our way today,” Johnston said.
The Falcons Player of the Game was outside hitter Andre Foreman, with 14 points, 12 kills, two aces and 13 digs.
Foreman said that after the game, he was mentally hungry to win the next game after the success of the second one.
“I want to win tomorrow. That was a huge game, in terms of a bounce back game because of the loss yesterday, and we had a lot of talk in the changing room, not about game planning for Mohawk, but from an emotional program, psychological standpoint,” Foreman said.
On March 11th, the Falcons defeated the Camosun Chargers in the bonze semi-final game, by winning all three sets.
The games were close each round, with points for the most part bouncing back and forth.
Player of the Game this round was outside hitter James Jackson, with 18 points, 17 kills and one block.
Johnston said it helped that the Falcons came off of a win the game before while the Chargers lost. Also the Falcons had more time to physically and mentally prepare for this game, while their opponents had less time to rest.
Johnston was quick to point out, that winning a bronze medal at the tournament required winning three games in less than 24 hours, which is something the Falcons are not too familiar with, but there were high hopes going into the final bronze medal game against the Rattlers.
Unfortunately the Falcons lost a tough match, with points bouncing back one after the other on each side, staying close in score so much so, that a fifth set was made and the score was 19-21.
Though there was clear disappointment from the team, the Falcons had positive thoughts in the end.
“It’s kind of a loss for words. We put everything on the line in the past eight months I guess. This program we’ve worked so hard, get so far and finally get ourselves and set ourselves up to be on such a high stage and honestly that’s all we can ask for from the boys. We just gave it our all, left out everything on the floor and that was just an amazing feeling to go out the way we did with my family,” Falcons’ setter Sebastian Lethbridge said.
Johnston shared similar thoughts as Lethbridge.
“I said to the guys, the unfortunate part of volleyball is that you win 49 per cent of the points and get zero per cent of the share. But as a coach you can’t ask for more from a team and you can’t be prouder because to see that type of mental toughness and also to be able to bounce back after a quarter final and have that be our third match in 24 hours, that’s the best we’ve played all year. So when we’ve played the best we played, I can’t be upset with the result.”