Red Hawks junior player Nick Phippen rises above the net for a spike./DARREN LUM Staff

Hawks host volleyball powerhouses

By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 16 2018

In their only home showcase the Red Hawks junior boys’ volleyball team displayed great progress from when the program was re-started last year. The last time the Hawks had a team was in the 1980s.

They dug defended at the net and more times than not they worked a play to three passes for a strong attack.

Hawks head coach Brett Caputo was pleased by his team’s efforts even if the scoreboard didn’t reflect what they put into it.

“It was good today. Played four straight. Everybody sees the floor and we only had six returning players so we’re pretty young. Some of these teams have more than that so it’s good. The overall competition is pretty high” he said.

The team’s lone win came against Thomas A. Stewart Secondary who split a match with the Hawks 25-17 and 20-25. They did not win any other games against the Saints of St. Peter Catholic Secondary School the Mustangs of Crestwood or the Lions of Adam Scott.

The top team of the exhibition tournament was Adam Scott Lions and the St. Peter Saints who both went 3-0.

Caputo and the team which includes coach Mike Gaffney appreciate the opportunity to play at home.

“It allows us to let parents see us play. To let the school see us play. It’s only our second season here. Going to try and encourage more guys to come out and play volleyball next year. It’s been good” he said.

It was apparent while playing volleyball powerhouses and AA and AAA schools such as Adam Scott Crestwood and St. Peter Saints that the team will work to improve. The serve game by these teams was overpowering at times and hampered the team’s ability to set up their offence.

Caputo isn’t discouraged saying returning the serve is one of the most challenging aspects of volleyball and none of these teams will be part of the field of competition at the A Kawartha Championship.

“Serve reception is the most important thing to passing. So passing is improving but we’re working on positioning and things like that. When we’re able to start the play I think we can play with most of the teams and especially at the A level we’ll be fine” he said. “These are bigger schools. We had four Peterborough schools here today and us.”

The Hawks team is using these exhibition tournaments and practice to peak for the upcoming Kawartha Championship. Caputo saw the team execute what he’s taught them.

“I’m happy. We’re doing lots of things that we’ve been working on in practice. It’s a short season” he said referring to only two more exhibition tournaments before A Kawartha Championship on Nov. 1.

None of the schools in today’s competition will compete at Kawartha as they are AA and higher.

The A Kawartha Championship will include Brock St. Thomas and Kenner.

Caputo said the Hawks have beaten Brock but have not played St. Thomas or Kenner. The format in the championship which is a qualifier for COSSA is a best of five sets.

Caputo said his team is doing what’s expected as far as his expectations for progress.

“We’re starting to win games and we’re in every game … next year will be a tough year for our senior program because we only have six guys moving up so we may have to bump up a few Grade 9s or look to have additional players” he said.

The ideal roster size is 10 players he said. Right now this junior team has 15 players.

Focus is key and with volleyball the fundamentals are important for success.

“In this game especially when you make a mistake it’s very apparent versus other sports like say soccer you can make a bad pass in your midfield it’s not going to turn into a goal or in basketball you miss a basket that’s part of the game. They’re still trying to grasp the concept in volleyball you are trying to force the other team in making errors but you’re not trying to make unforced errors” he said.

He adds the coaching staff is balancing between letting the players work through challenging situations versus stopping the play with a time out to speak to the players.

Caputo said it’s all part of a whole season’s plan for long-term development.

As far as the championship tournament goes it’s up in the air.

“We’ll see what happens next” he said.