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A learning curve for the boys’ volleyball squads at EDSS

The EDSS senior boys’ volleyball squad is off to the WCSSAA quarter-finals. Back row: Owen Kidnie, Keaton Weiss, Justin Lebold, Robbie Mazzocca, Daniel Howell. Middle row: assistant coach Melanie Austin, Quentin Mayer, Zach Wideman, Ben Straus, Callum Johnson, head coach Adam Hiller. Front row: Nicholas Pavanel and Eric Devos. [Scott Barber / The Observer]

Though both the senior and junior boys’ volleyball teams trail in the standings at the season’s halfway point, EDSS coaches are still optimistic about their prospects.

“The schedule early on in the season was difficult and we played some close games with some really good teams. We played close five-set games with Cameron and Jacob Hespeler, both teams that are at the top of the standings. We are still gaining experience and hopefully later on in the season we can win some of those close matches,” said seniors’ coach Adam Hiller.

Not as far as they thought they’d be by the middle of the season, the senior Lancers are learning a thing or two about focus. A talented group of players, many returning from the previous year, the team has good chemistry and harbours some skills, said Hiller. But their middle-of-the-road finish in last year’s tournaments shows the team still needs to conquer issues with focus.

The EDSS senior Lancers fell 3-1 to defending champions Waterloo Collegiate institute on October 10 but are slowly starting to rack up points with four wins so far. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
The EDSS senior Lancers fell 3-1 to defending champions Waterloo Collegiate institute on October 10 but are slowly starting to rack up points with four wins so far. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
“We have many very good athletes, who are turning heads throughout the league. We have the talent, but sometimes lack the focus needed to compete at a high level. It is something we are working on, and hopefully will improve on as the year goes on,” Hiller said.

The Lancers fell 3-1 to the defending champions Waterloo Collegiate on October 10 and the juniors shared a similar fate with their own 3-1 loss. However, things seem to be picking up for the seniors. Ten games and four wins: 3-0 against Kitchener Collegiate on September 26, 3-0 against Southwood Secondary School October 10, 3-0 against Waterloo-Oxford and 3-1 over Galt Collegiate, the team is tenth in the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletic Association (WCSSAA) standings so far, tied with Grand River.

“The junior team is halfway through what I would deem a building year. We have a lot of Grade 9s and 10s that are for the most part new to the sport. We have yet to win a match, but the boys are progressively getting more competent and confident in their ability,” said coach Sarah Gerth.

With some close games with Sir John A. Macdonald and KCI, the young Lancers are showing improvement but remain near the bottom of the WCSSAA standings. Still, the coach sees room for optimism.

“We have great serving and passing ability. Justin Lebold is our setter and he has great leadership qualities; his enthusiasm adds to the team dynamic. Matt Weber is new to the sport, but his athleticism is helping to turn him into quite the volleyball player. Logan Cressman is a great passer and is helpful in the back row; Quinten Mayer is our best server and one of our tallest players. The guys are all great at different ability levels but they gel well as a team,” Gerth said.

Hiller is of a similar attitude regarding his senior players, adding the goal is to improve on last year’s standings.

“It’s a great group of guys, who are working hard to improve every day,” he said.

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