Day One of the 2018 belairdirect OCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships concluded with a thrilling match up of OCAA teams at the Athletic and Wellness Centre between the top seeded Humber Hawks and the fifth seeded Mohawk Mountaineers.
Mohawk finished with a 11-7 record during the regular season and headed to Oshawa to play the Durham Lords in their crossover match. They shocked the Lords, beating them in four sets (25-23, 25-17, 20-25, 25-17).
Meanwhile, Humber, just like for the past decade, has become the team to beat in the OCAA as they went 18-0 in the regular season and subsequently thumped the La Cite Coyotes in straight sets (25-8, 25-9, 25-11) in their crossover match to advance to provincials.
It looked like history was about to happen as the Hawks were four points away from losing in straight sets and having their 125 game winning streak snapped. It would have also marked the first time that all four teams that had the higher seed would be eliminated.
Humber, though, was not to be denied as they rallied from a two set deficit to beat Mohawk in five sets (23-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14, 15-9) and avoided what would have been a monumental upset. With the win, the Hawks’ win streak extends to 126 as they advance to the semi finals tomorrow night at 8:00pm against the St. Clair Saints.
Mohawk does not have much time to dwell on their heartbreaking loss, however, as they face the host Centennial Colts tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm.
Breanna Golding was Humber’s Player of the Game, as she led all scorers with 24 points, including a game high 23 kills. Devan O’Connor and Nicole Collard each had a game high five aces while Collard also had a game high five blocks. Celine Blanchette dished out a team high 26 assists while Kyla Wilkins had a team high eight digs.
Amanda Kuiper was named Mohawk’s Player of the Game as she dished out a game high 31 assists and had a team high four aces. Kelsey Kovar led Mohawk with 17 points on 14 kills and also finished tied with Kinsley Child with a game high nine digs while Danielle Kamps had a team high three blocks.
Humber looked to start off strong early as they burst out to a 6-2 lead and back to back aces from O’Connor gave the Hawks their largest lead of the first set at 20-14. But Mohawk shockingly ended the set on a 11-3 run, started off by consecutive kills from Kovar as the Mountaineers stunned the crowd, taking the first set, 25-23.
Mohawk continued their momentum from the end of the first set as they jumped out to a 10-6 and then scored five points in a row to take a 22-13 lead in the second set, their largest lead of the game. And although Humber scored seven in a row to cut the deficit to two, an ace from Kuiper ended off the set in favour of Mohawk, 25-21.
The third set saw Humber hold the lead for most of that set, up 20-18, late, but a kill from Kamps capped off three straight points from Mohawk as they were four points away from having the crowd go crazy at what would have easily been the biggest upset in OCAA women’s volleyball.
But Humber closed out the third with five straight points and avoided the sweep, winning the set, 25-21. Golding had seven kills in the set alone.
Humber, inspired by the way the third set ended, scored the first six points of the fourth set and never looked back as they easily forced a decisive fifth set, winning the set, 25-14. The Hawks had six aces during that set.
The avalanche continued to pile on for the Mountaineers as the Hawks went on a 8-2 run to open up the fifth set before teams switched sides. The switch seemed to wake up Mohawk as they then scored four in a row, capped off by an ace from Kamps.
But that was as close as they would get as Humber, led by five kills from Golding, took the fifth set, 15-9, and completed the comeback, wrapping up a day that was full of excitement and shocking upsets. If this is what to expect for the rest of provincials, day two will be just as good.