Recap by Aideena Wickstrom
Etobicoke, ON: On January 12th, the Women's Volleyball team hosted the St. Clair Saints (2nd west) in a magnetic five set match.
Olivia Foley began the opening set with an impressive kill from the outside position, showcasing the determination the Hawks have. This aggressive like gameplay continued as Emma Heeney rotated into front row and nailed down three kills down the line. This momentum carried the Hawks to lead the St. Clair Saints by three points. Alex Bartman hit the service line and nailed down two quick aces, forcing St. Clair coach Jimmy El-Turk to call the first timeout of the game. Re-entering the court, Alex Bartman nailed down another ace and then proceeded to go on a six point serving run. This rattled the Saints, forcing them to take their final time out almost immediately after the first. St. Clair was unable to recollect themselves in either of these timeouts, as they continued to fall on the wrong side of every point. Humber took the first set 25-22.
The second and third sets started out similar to the first as both teams went back and forth in points for the majority of the sets. Slowly though, the Hawks began to lose their focus and fall behind St. Clair. Remaining unshaken by the Saints, Emma Heeney led the Hawks from the left side position. Making small unforced errors in the back row, it was evident that the Hawks were beginning to lose their steam. Allowing the Saints to go on five point serving runs at the end of both sets, the Hawks lost vital opportunities to score. Set two was finalized at 23-25, and set three was finished at 19-25.
The fourth set began with consistently long rallies between both teams. Each side of the court seemed as equally as athletic as the other, as both teams refused to let the ball hit the floor. This began to change once Sally Nguuyen hit the service line and nailed down a six point serving run, throttling the Hawks above the Saints score. This only fuelled the Hawks to further their lead, as shortly after Sally's run, Olivia Foley started a serving run of her own. By 20-12, the Saints had lost all of their potential energy towards the set. In contrary, the Hawks were continuing to nail down kill after kill. The set was finalized at 25-17, as Olivia Foley won the final point with an impressive outside block.
During the final set of the game, the crowd was ecstatic. The crowd, the benches, and the players, were all on their feet, cheering hard for every point. The Hawks started off with a strong 5-2 lead, but slowly allowed the Saints to catch back up due to missed serves. Tied at 8-8, both teams were determined to win this set. Not letting any balls hit the floor without an athlete hitting the floor as well, each rally lasted what felt like minutes. Both the Hawks and the Saints stayed within a point of each other all the way until 11-11, when an ace gave the Saints the lead, and pushed Coach Chris Wilkins to call a time out for the Hawks. Coming out of that timeout, the Hawks began fighting hard once again. Everyone was on the edge of their seats as the score was 13-14 in favor of the Saints, and it was hard to watch the final rallies of the game. Playing as hard as they could, the Hawks came just short of the victory, with the score ending at an intense 13-15.
The Hawks will have a break this weekend, but will be back in action on Wednesday, January 16th, when they will travel to the Lion den to play the Redeemer Royals, in Ancaster.