Wildcats blast OSS for another victory
Will Stevenson of the Eastview Wildcats leaps to blast the ball over the net during senior boys volleyball action against the Orillia Nighthawks on Thursday at Eastview Secondary School in Barrie. The Wildcats won in three straight sets. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO
The Eastview Wildcats carry quite the presence.
With the play from their left side, middle, and outside hitters, the senior boys volleyball team is tough to stop.
Eastview rolled on to another straight-sets victory on Thursday, defeating the Orillia Nighthawks 25-8, 28-26, 25-15.
“Our team just played well,” said Wildcats middle Dustin Ly. “We struggled on the passes, but we got our serves over and we didn’t get down. We kept rallying.”
The big hitters got things going early, as Eastview went on long runs to comfortably draw first blood.
“In the first set, we were really focused and wanted that win,” said Wildcats captain Will Stevenson. “We were all playing together and were focused.”
Blake Verdonk had some big kills early, and Ly finished things off with a pair of quick shots over the net that caught the Nighthawks off-guard.
“(On and) off the court, we talk a lot about it and practice it,” Ly said. “At practice, we usually run quicks right away to get going.”
In the second set, Stevenson started blasting shots over the net with for points with regularity, loudly celebrating them for himself and his team’s sake.
“It’s a little bit of both,” Stevenson said. “I’m a high-intensity energy player who likes to play hyped, and when you have that high energy, it’s infectious. If you get a kill, everyone is hyped up.
“So it really helps me and the team.”
They would need that, because other parts of the Wildcats game would lapse, allowing Orillia to hang with them in the second set.
“I think, after the first set, we dominated, and then we lost our focus,” Stevenson said. “We thought it was going to be an easy win, but then we weren’t in the right spot, we weren’t paying attention, and we weren’t as well-oiled of a machine.”
When a critical kill by Orillia’s Nic Stevenson gave the Nighthawks the lead, Eastview coach Rob Broley called a timeout to try and get his players back on the same page.
“Broley knows we’re a good team,” Ly said. “He just told us to stop fooling around and keep it simple.
“He knows that we can win, we just need to (execute).”
A Stevenson kill would give Eastview the lead before some more consistent play by its big players allowed them to take the second set.
“I think, what our team has over other tall teams, is team chemistry,” Stevenson said. “We’re all friends, we all play together a lot and we practice every night.
“There’s a lot of trusting that the other person will be there and knowing where you’re going.”
Getting those heavy hitters into positions to get kills has been a big deal for Eastview.
Stevenson believes it creates a lot of momentum for his team.
“It’s a pretty big advantage, not only because a kill is a point, but when you get those, it motivates the rest of the team to do their best and they get energized as well,” he said.
In the third set, the Wildcats would steady the ship a little more, and they really pulled ahead in the last 15 points, solidifying their game.
They would also see a number of different faces get actively involved, with Nick Metzger, Morgan Gill and Brad Nagle coming up with key blocks or kills.
“I think it’s really important, because if just one person is getting every point, then it kind of isolates the other people to think that they aren’t as good,” Stevenson said. “But when it spreads around, the whole team knows they’re playing well and everyone wants to play.”
There are a number of players back from last year’s squad, one that won the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association championship and was impressive at last year’s OFSAA in Burlington.
Suffice it to say, they expect to be back.
“We’re training to win GBs (again) and we know we can do well at OFSAA this year,” Ly said.