Main photo: The 2019 HHS senior boys volleyball team (back from left) Wes Farnsworth, Teagan Bennett, Seth Cooper, Jack Koop, Tyler Blair, Ethan Tye, Matt Schmanda, Jeremiah Martin, head coach Ross Clarke; Cole Lines, David Buchanan, Ryan Clarke, Charlie Lalonde, Ethan Israelstam, Gavin McPhee, and assistant coach Matt Robertson. (supplied)
They had made school history before they even arrived.
The Huntsville High School senior boys volleyball team would be the first boys’ team to participate in an OFSAA AA volleyball championship when they arrived in Stratford to meet teams from across the province Nov. 20-23. The only other time HHS has sent a boys’ volleyball team to OFSAA was in 2012 in Kingston in the AAA division.
The championships are comprised of a 20-team tournament where teams play in different pools. They are then reseeded and can qualify for playoffs depending on how the team did in their assigned pool. The HHS team was seeded 13th in Ontario.
Huntsville’s first game was against OFSAA host school, St. Mikes in Stratford. It was a nail biter, with the Hoyas taking a loss, 15-13, in a third game, final set tie-breaker.
Game two was against the fourth seeded team in the tournament, West Side Secondary School. Huntsville pulled a straight win, 25-17.
Friday morning brought the Hoyas their third match against the 17th seeded team where again HHS took the win in a close match 2-1.
Huntsville’s final game in the pool-round play on Friday was against Port Perry, the 10th seeded team. “We lost a heart breaker 15-12 in the tie breaker,” said head coach, Ross Clarke. “If we had won, we would have finished first in our pool, and guaranteed at least a top eight finish in Ontario! Having lost, we ended up fourth in our pool and moved into the consolation draw for the ninth to 16th place bracket.”
In their consolation quarterfinal, HHS played Adam Scott Secondary School in a full match for best three of five sets.
“The Hoyas were in full control of the match winning the first two sets, and somehow we let it slip,” said Clarke. “We lost the next two sets, now with the match tied two games each. We went into the fifth set tie breaker and lost a heart breaking set 15-10 to end our tournament.”
Although the outcome wasn’t what they’d hoped for, the senior boys had much to celebrate. This year’s team was the first to win matches at an OFSAA volleyball championship with their two wins and three losses, which were all lost in a tie-break set.
“The team I took there was a wonderful group of young men,” said Clarke.
They were also appreciative of the support from their fans. “The parent group was amazing,” added Clarke. “Supportive and equipped with fan club custom t-shirts and cow bells.”
Congratulations to all of the senior boys for their best efforts in representing Huntsville at OFSAA 2019.
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