After posting a 6-6 record during the regular season, the EDSS junior boys’ volleyball team finished out the year with a loss in the quarterfinals.
Their season came to an end against Grand River Collegiate Institute, winning just one set to GRCI’s three on Nov. 3.
Head coach Sarah Gerth says even though the season didn’t end the way the team wanted, she is proud of the team for getting close in such a short time.
“To come together in two months and become a team, that is difficult. They aren’t a fractured team. It isn’t 12 guys playing individually,” she said. “They have, in two months, become a team that works together, learns together, loses together, wins together, but most of all, they have very quickly figured out how to be extremely cohesive. When they are on the court or in practice, they are one group.”
Their final match up in the quarterfinals didn’t go their way, but Gerth says that isn’t because they weren’t trying their best. The team was missing four of their key players.
“I was out my big middle to an ankle injury. We fought hard, and I had three of my other guys away for a hockey tournament. We have beaten them before pretty handily, which made it difficult, especially without our big middle to shut them down, I knew it was going to be difficult. Without my three hockey guys, it was a challenge, but I have a pretty good bench,” she said. “The one thing we do have is heart and there was a lot of that. It just wasn’t enough for that game. It went as well as could be expected.”
The team is losing six of its players next year to the senior Lancers, should the boys choose to continue playing, but Gerth says she can’t wait to see how her Grade 9 players will do next year.
“I have quite a few guys left. I am really looking forward to what they can do. I have some great athletes, and they have all learned and gotten a lot better. I expect them to get a lot better still,” she said. “Stephan Wichers, our middle that plays club, he’ll be back. He plays for the Kitchener Predators. I coach the Predator clubs as well. He still has some learning to do, but he’s definitely a key part of that team.”
When comparing the beginning of the season to now, Gerth says she has seen immense growth in the team and its players.
“At the beginning of the year, I made them fill out a sheet asking what are your goals, and what they expect from me as a coach. One of the things that I really harp on is that we get better every day and they did,” she shared. “At the end of each practice or game, I ask them what we did right, and what they think we have to work on and at the beginning of the year, it started with me telling them what they did right, and what needs work. By midseason, I would ask, and they would know.”