After the women’s Seawolves lost in semi-final action earlier in the day, the men’s Seawolves volleyball team faced-off against the third place Holland College Hurricanes in Saturday evening semi-final play at the 2014-15 ACAA Volleyball Championships at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.
The two teams were like two evenly paced long distance runners in the first set, until the Seawolves went on a 11 point scoring run that only allowed the Hurricanes two points, ending the set 25-18 in favour of the Seawolves.
A lengthy two minute rally sounded-off the second set, in which incredible blocks by both sides signaled neither side was interested in letting this semi-final match be an easy win.
Until the final few points, the Seawolves flip-flopped points with the Hurricanes, but lapses in communication and quick hitting by the Hurricanes allowed the Islanders to steal this set.
The third set was a whirlwind. At one point, for every two points the Hurricanes got, the Seawolves would only get one point.
Catching the Seawolves flat-footed, the Hurricanes attackers found the vacant seams to tidily place the ball.
While the Seawolves lost the third set 25-18, the highlight of the set had to be Blair Doull’s backwards set that ignited buzzing enthusiasm amongst the Seawolves fans. Note here: Doull is not the setter!
With the fourth set being do or go home for the Seawolves, the team rallied to barely squeeze past the Hurricanes 25-23, to force a fifth set.
One player who stood out in the fourth set was Peter Banks, a second year player and 1st Team All-Conference, who was on fire.
Registering 11 kills in the game, in my head, I kept repeating during this set: ‘Banks again! Wow, what a kill! Banks! What a block!’
Bank’s play strongly contributed to the Seawolves taking the match to fifth set, where a winner would be decided in fifteen points.
After switching sides midway through the set, as is custom in the fifth set, the Seawolves looked like they were going to carry the game away. At one point they were leading 12-9.
But bad habits returned to haunt the Seawolves. Open gaps in defense invited the Hurricanes’ precise hitters to take advantage, and they did, taking the set 15-13.
While the Seawolves were eliminated from contention, there were many bright horizons for the future of the program.
Defensively, the Seawolves best player was veteran Nick Fraser, registered a game high 23 digs, and was also named to the 1st Team All-Conference Friday evening; while rookie libero Jacob McLean had 17 digs.
First year Patrick Kendall was fairly dominant in the setter position. The tall and efficient rookie Herbert Compagner was consistently ready at the block.
While the team left empty handed, first year player Luke O’Grady received Rookie of the Year honours for the entire ACAA league, and head coach Kyle Blanchard was recognized as ACAA Coach of the Year.