By Darren Lum
Published March 6 2018
There is a lot of excitement and a bit of surprise for the Red Hawks senior girls’ volleyball team after learning about their berth to the all-provincials Ontario Federation School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) A championships last week.
Normally the team would have been done for the season after finishing in second place at the Central Ontario Federation School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships at the Quinte Christian High School in late February. OFSAA berths go the top team from COSSA.
However a team that was eligible to compete at OFSAA decided to not go and their loss is the Hawks’ gain. Hawks coach Dan Gimon explained the school was asked to go due in large part to the team’s record this season.
Gimon said his players were happy upon learning of the news even if a little taken aback.
“They’re pretty excited” he said. “They’re surprised.”
Gimon reminded players they earned this berth from their hard work. If they didn’t have quality results which included wins over AA schools at COSSA they likely wouldn’t have been considered.
In the COSSA semi-final the Hawks displayed the kind of resiliency that coach Gimon has been working diligently on with his players. All that work paid off with a comeback in the fiFth and deciding set against Nicholson Catholic College so they could play in the COSSA final
“At the switch we’re down 5-8 and we were able to get the ball back. Then Arden Harrop went on a serving streak and the girls dug deep and stayed positive and got pumped and won 15 -10” he said.
He adds that win was significant for the team.
“This was really huge for them mentally. That mental toughness aspect that we’ve been working on. It was really really good for them” he said.
Gimon sees this growth as something that they will be able to draw upon in the coming provincial championship where there will be tough competition.
“They know that just because you’re down five points it’s not the end of it. It’s one point at a time and they know they’ve done it in the past and they can do it again. So I think it is very big for them” he said.
The Hawks will enter the all-provincial tournament as the second seed for COSSA and will be seeded in the tournament among the 20 schools according to their wins and losses record. It will be a round-robin format with four (best-of-three) matches in pool play. Each of the four pools will include five teams. After round robin play the top two move on to the championship rounds while the third and fourth teams move to a consolation round and the fifth place team is eliminated.
Gimon said this team’s dedication and their work ethic in the season enabled a quicker evolution of the players’ skills which led the coach to re-evaluAte his two-year plan for the team early in the season. What was expected to be a rebuilding season has become one of the best.
When he saw his team’s fundamentals were sound he could get his team to work on more advanced drills and employ more sophisticated strategies. Gimon said getting to work with a club team (his daughter plays on) has given him greater coaching tips and drills to share with the Hawks.
This all-provincials will be the swan song for four senior students: Ali Paul Abby Gordon Emma Scheffee and Kristie Clements. They turned out to be part of the team’s “core.” This will be Clements’ first OFSAA trip while teammates Paul Gordon and Scheffee have been to the all-provincials multiple times as field hockey players.
With just four graduating players the future is bright for the school’s volleyball program particularly if players return and this year’s second-year junior players move up. Gimon acknowledged the support of coaches such as Brett Caputo who has been driving force behind the program which has included a new boys’ team Janice Scheffee Mike Gaffney and long-time coach Steve Smith in the program.
This support and success the seniors and the juniors had this season gives him optimism for continued development to a quality volleyball program.
“With all this coming together it could be a good thing for volleyball in Haliburton” he said.
Kawartha championship results
Loss TASS (AAA): 12-25 20-25
Win FFSS (AA): 25-21 25-18
Win HCHS (AA): 25-16 25-20
Finished second after pool play forcing them to play top seed St. Petes (all club players under17 and under 18)
Loss St Peters (AAA): 9-25 14-25
COSSA Championships (best of five)
Win Nicholson Catholic College 25-16 12-25 25-14 21-25 15-10 advanced to final.
Loss Quinte Christian H.S. 8-25 15-25 17-25
Note: coach appreciated the steady improvement over the three sets and he kept the strong players on the whole time