Day One of the 2018 belairdirect OCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships continued at the Athletic and Wellness Centre as it featured another East-West showdown. This time, it was the matinee match of the night as the third-seeded St Clair Saints from the OCAA West faced off against the second-seeded Centennial Colts, who also play as hosts of the tournament.
It has been a season to remember for the Colts as they ended the regular season on a 12 game winning streak and finished the regular season with a 15-3 record. Centennial did not play a crossover matchup due to playing hosts.
Meanwhile, for the St. Clair Saints, they ended the regular season, going 13-5. They won their crossover matchup against the Georgian Grizzlies in four sets (22-25, 25-17, 27-25, 25-13).
After the Loyalist Lancers fell at the hands of the Sheridan Bruins, Centennial was the only team from the OCAA East that was still in the mix for provincials. After this game, however, only the OCAA West teams remain.
A higher seed fell for the third straight game as the Saints beat the Colts in four hard-fought sets (25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 26-24) in front of a packed house filled with Centennial fans. St. Clair will now play the winner between the Humber Hawks and the Mohawk Mountaineers in tomorrow night’s semi-final at 8:00pm.
Centennial will play the loser of that quarterfinal in the consolation round tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm.
Taylor Fitzgerald was named Player of the Game for the Saints; she scored 10 points on a team high eight kills. Kimberley Quintanilla finished with a team high 13 points on a game high nine aces and finished with a team high 21 assists while while Julian Ann Milling had 17 digs.
Mari Pikkov led all scorers with a game high 19 points on 15 kills and three aces while Emily Joe had 11 points on eight kills and three aces.
Nadjema Soro finished with a game high 26 assists but it was Shanelle Woods who was the steadying presence for Centennial, as her service game kept the Colts in it and for that, she was named the Colts Player of the Game.
Centennial rode the energy of the crowd early on in the first set as they went up 15-9. But St Clair went on a 9-2 run to take an 18-17 lead after an attack error from Elizabeth Chow. A kill from Quintanilla broke a 20-20 tie and the Saints closed the set out, scoring five of the last six points to win the first set, 25-21.
The Colts started off fast once again as they went up 6-3 in the second set and held their three point lead after a block from Woods (15-12). St Clair, though, responded in a huge way, going on a 13-2 run to close out the set, including six straight points at one point as the Saints took the second set, 25-17.
St. Clair scored the first five points of the third set but this time, it was Centennial who began to chip away, cutting it to one on multiple occasions but the Saints held a 23-19 lead with a chance to win in straight sets. But the Colts closed out the set on a 7-1 run, capped off by an ace from Woods, delighting the home crowd as Centennial took the third set, 26-24.
Woods’ service game got Centennial off to a quick 5-0 start and led by as many as six (10-4) before St. Clair began to, once again, chip away at the lead, taking a 22-20 lead after an attack error from Woods.
However, Centennial responded on a 4-0 run and had a chance to force a fifth set but the Saints had other ideas as they closed out the set on a 4-0 run of their own, highlighted by consecutive aces from Quintanilla as they won the match, winning the fourth set by a score of 26-24.