Sports High School Sports

Barrie's Romeo-Dallaire defeats Nouvelle-Alliance in four sets to claim SCAA senior boys ‘A’ title

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

Daniel Lowry-Whitton of the Romeo-Dallaire Viperes battles it out at the net against members of the Nouvelle-Alliance Tornades during Tuesday's senior boys Simcoe County Athletic Association ‘A’ volleyball final. The Viperes won, 3-1. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Daniel Lowry-Whitton of the Romeo-Dallaire Viperes battles it out at the net against members of the Nouvelle-Alliance Tornades during Tuesday's senior boys Simcoe County Athletic Association ‘A’ volleyball final. The Viperes won, 3-1. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

The Romeo-Dallaire Viperes might be a young team, but they know what they want.

And that’s a trip to OFSAA.

The senior boys volleyball team took a big step towards that on Tuesday, defeating the Nouvelle-Alliance Tornades in four sets (25-13, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17) to take the ‘A’ Simcoe County Athletic Association title.

“It just took a lot of focus and teamwork from the whole team,” said Romeo-Dallaire’s Liam Boon. “We had to really move our feet, think and stay focused on the game.”

After a slow start in last week’s semifinal against Le Caron, the Viperes wanted to come out strong against the Tornades.

“We had a lot of focus and intensity,” Boon said. “We were playing really well and getting the job done.”

All eight active players on the young Viperes squad – with students ranging from Grade 9 to 12 – saw regular action in this game.

While they were all working well in the first set, but their youthfulness may have led to a drop-off in the second, where Nouvelle-Alliance consistently found holes in Romeo-Dallaire’s court on serves.

“Something must have gotten our focus off and we were playing a bit sloppier,” Boon said. “Our bumps weren’t going to the right place and stuff wasn’t getting done.”

With the match tied at a game apiece, head coach Harold Robert, who is also the principal at Romeo-Dallaire, called his team in to try and get them back on track.

“He was talking about how we had to keep our mind on it,” Boon said. “We all agreed to ourselves at the beginning of the season, after we lost a game, that we weren’t going to lose anymore.

“That was our one and this is it,” said Boon, who has been motivated, along with his teammates, to try and get to OFSAA in Robert’s last season. “We had to go out there and finish.”

Sure enough, Romeo-Dallaire came out sharp in the third set, building up an 11-3 lead thanks to a trio of big kills from Daniel Lowry-Whitton.

“You try to put the other team down,” Lowry-Whitton said. “It sounds like a mean thing to say, but as long as they’re down, they’re playing worse, that gives us a bit more energy and makes it a bit easier for us to get through the game.”

From there, even a temporary lapse wouldn’t be enough to stop the Viperes from taking the third set.

In the fourth, things would go up and down for Romeo-Dallaire, which built a seemingly comfortable 16-9 advantage, but Nouvelle-Alliance would battle back to make it a 20-17 game.

“We seemed to fall asleep in every set except for the first one,” Lowry-Whitton said. “We lost focus a bit in the fourth set.

“But we didn’t want it to go to five, so we needed to get focus back and play as well as we could.”

From there, Boon would connect with setter Aidan Shehata a couple of times on quick kills.

“That’s both of us,” Boon said. “I have to be there, on time and in the air, for when he gets it, and then I can just hit it down.

“It’s really both people that have to be able to do this.”

They would get to match point, and from there, Boon sent a serve into the Tornades half that was not returned.

There are still a couple of hurdles left for the Viperes, as they will need to defeat Jean Vanier, the lone Catholic-board representative, as well as a team from the Muskoka-Parry Sound district, if they wish to get to OFSAA.

If all goes well for the Viperes, they’ll be able to book their ticket after next Wednesday.

“I’m really excited,” Boon said. “I’ve won (the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association championship) when I was in ninth grade, but fell short last year.

“This is my first opportunity to go to OFSAA and I’m really excited.”

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