Leland Kainellos bows for the judges prior to competing in kata for the seven- to 10-year-old division. Kainellos finished with a gold in kumite (sparring). The event drew seven karate clubs from as far as Ottawa and Toronto. The local club had 12 members from six years old and up competing./DARREN LUM Staff

 Juniors finish third at COSSA

By Darren Lum

Published Feb. 28 2017

The Red Hawks junior girls’ volleyball team can hold their heads up high after hosting COSSA (Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics) championship on Thursday Feb. 23.

Finishing third at COSSA came down to a single match with Kawartha A rivals St. Thomas Catholic Secondary School Titans in the Hawks’ last match.
The Hawks hung on to win taking the first game 25-22 and closed out the match with a 25-18 win to finish COSSA with four points behind second seed Quinte school École secondaire publique Marc Garneau from Trenton. Marc Garneau lost 16-14 in the third and deciding game in a stunner to Quinte top seed Quinte Christian High School. The champions were losing 14-11 facing match point before their five point run to win the best-of-three match to capture the COSSA title.

Coach Steve Smith loved his team’s effort in this championship on home court.
“The girls were excited to be here and I was excited to coach them. It was great to host and the girls rose to the occasion” he said.
He cannot recall the last time the Hawks hosted COSSA.
Getting to see the COSSA trophy with past winning schools which included Haliburton back in 2000 etched on it provided the Hawks players motivation against Marc Garneau their first opponent.
“It was a momentum thing in volleyball. Sometimes the momentum swings back and forth and the girls would really like to get rid of the basketball net“ he said smiling.
Several passes hit the low hanging net which was located on one side of the court.
“Actually that was a common theme throughout the whole tournament was the basketball net. It was equal on both sides. The net being an issue for both teams” he said.
The home team was close in both sets losing by a combined 10 points. The score was 0-2 (21-25 and 19-25). In the Red Hawks’ second match against eventual COSSA champions Quinte Christians the score was 0-2 (10-25 and 17-25).

This year Smith was coach of the entire volleyball program leading the senior and junior teams.
He has already been in contact with a likely candidate expected to take over the seniors while he will remain with the juniors only.
Next year’s junior team will experience a “change of guard.”
Only four players will return to the team from this year Smith said.
“It’s going to be building again. That’s the nature of junior ball. You build and start from square one. You start the program we have in place and continue to see success” he said.
After a two-year hiatus from coaching Smith welcomed the opportunity to have a chance to host COSSA. He  appreciated being able to work with the girls this season.
“The girls worked hard. They worked their butts off and [had] success” he said. “It’s been good. It’s been fun.”