Athletes of the Week: HHS senior boys volleyball team

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Main photo: The Huntsville High School senior boys volleyball team (back from left) assistant coach Matt Robertson, head coach Ross Clarke, Cole Lines, Gavin McPhee, Wes Farnsworth, Jack Koop, Ethan Tye, Jeremiah Martin, Teagen Bennett, Tyler Blair, assistant coach Drew Pahapill; (front from left) Charlie Lalonde, Seth Cooper, Ethan Israelstam, David Buchanan, Matt Schmanda, and Ryan Clarke (supplied)

After a hard-fought season, the Hoyas senior boys volleyball team is headed for the provincial AA championships.

The players set high goals for themselves and finished their regular season with a 15-4 record. Head coach, Ross Clarke, said, “We’ve had a really cool season—it’s been awesome…I’m proud to be their coach.”

In between their regular game schedule, the Hoyas competed in a few tournaments. At an early bird tournament at Canadore College in September, they made it to the finals and finished with a silver medal. At an invitational tournament at Queen’s University in Kingston they finished eighth out of 20 teams overall.

Then, on November 5, the Hoyas participated in the MPS (Muskoka Parry Sound) Championships at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School. They landed in the finals to face their all-time local rivals, the senior boys team from BMLSS. It’s a strong, well-coached team that the Hoyas often fell to. They ended that streak with a hard-won game to take the 2019 MPS championship title.

This well-deserved win earned the team the right to move on to play in the GBSSA (Georgian Bay Secondary School Athletics) championships at the AA level. On Wednesday, November 13, the HHS senior boys walked into the St. Joseph High School gym in Barrie focused on one thing: the championship. The last time a Huntsville Hoyas volleyball team won the GBs was back in 2012.

They made it to the finals, but a win wasn’t a guarantee. The Hoyas lost the first set to Saint Joseph’s, followed by a win in the second, a loss in the third and a win in the fourth. Battling it out in the fifth set for the tie-breaker, the Hoyas emerged victorious with a 15-4 win and the title of GBSSA champions.

This grand win for the senior boys earned them a ticket to the all-Ontario AA championships at OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations).

“It is a very big deal to qualify as a team sport and it’s not very often that we see volleyball teams at OFSAA,” said Clarke. “This is pretty special.”

The team will travel to St. Michael’s in Stratford next week for OFSSA for games that begin on Thursday, November 21. Go, Hoyas, go!

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