Recap by Aideena Wickstrom
London, ON: On February 2nd, two nationally ranked teams battled head to head in London, ON. The Fanshawe Falcons (5th, CCAA), welcomed the Humber Hawks (14th, CCAA) and the result was a five set thriller, filled with close calls and hyped up points.
The first set was hard for the Humber Hawks, as they seemed unable to adjust to Fanshawe's court. The Hawks struggled to gain any momentum, as the Falcons pulled away with an 11-1 lead. Humber's coach Chris Wilkins called a time out, but the Hawks seemed to lack the fire that they usually have. As they fell further and further behind to unforced errors, the Hawks dropped the first set 9-25.
Both teams competed for the lead during the opening half of the second set, as each point was earned after a long and hard fought rally. With an electrifying single block by Aideena Wickstrom, the Falcons were left at a stand still, and Humber's bench was screaming with energy. This shifted all of the momentum onto Humber's court, as they were soon able to slip away with a three point lead. Fanshawe was forced to call a timeout, as Julia Watson commanded respect from the right side position, nailing down multiple kills and leaving the Falcons shaken. This timeout failed to help, as Humber continued to ride on a wave of momentum and excitement. Now 23-18, it was evident that Humber had lost plenty of energy. Fanshawe was close to retaking the lead, as coach Chris Wilkins called a timeout at 23-21. Coming out of this break, the Hawks were quick to nail down two points and take the set 25-21.
Fanshawe gained an early lead going into the third set, going onto a ten point serving run. The Hawks seemed unable to return any of the serves effectively as Coach Chris Wilkins was forced to call an early timeout. Seemingly more energetic as they re-entered the court, the Humber Hawks quickly worked to lessen their deficit against their hosting team. Leading the Hawks, Emma Heeney and Julia Watson worked hard from their outside positions to help their team score. Now only behind by four points, Humber brought intensity and discipline, quickly shoving a three point serving run onto Fanshawe's court. The Hawks continued to force pressure on Fanshawe as they set up a tall, wall-like block. This cornered Fanshawe, forcing them into a timeout at 22-18. After a close back and forth, Humber buckled down and finished the third stole set with a kill by Aideena Wickstrom, at 25-19.
Julia Watson opened the fourth set with a service ace, which hyped up Humber's bench intensely. This hype was short lived though, as the Hawks had seemingly eased up on their opponents. As Fanshawe began a five point serving run, Humber made a couple rookie mistakes and soon fell behind in points. With the crowd and court getting more and more intense as the points went on, tensions rose. Kyla Wilkins worked to control her side of the court, as rallies seemed to get more and more out of control. Four points behind, the Hawks seemed unable to go on a proper service run to shorten the hole they were in. After strong offensive plays by Emma Heeney, Aideena Wickstrom and Julia Watson, the Hawks fell short of the fourth set's victory. The final score was 19-25.
Humber started off on the wrong foot in the fifth set, as they put three serves into the net and gave Fanshawe a 6-3 lead. Calling a time out to recollect the burned out Hawks, Chris Wilkins worked to rejuvenate his players. This slightly worked, as Rossella Falcomer was set from the middle position and hit an amazing kill onto the opposition court. With both teams screaming with anticipation and excitement, Humber seemed to be a little too focused on the end goal. With multiple long rallies between both birds, the Hawks seemed to land on the wrong side of each one. After a rough back and forth, Humber dropped the fifth set 15-9.
In this match, captain Kyla Wilkins racked up 15 digs. This skyrockets her ever-growing All-Time Humber career digs record up to 606. She is the first player in Humber's history to achieve this. Julia Watson and Emma Heeney were the lead scorers for the Hawks. Julia had 13 kills and 3 aces, while Emma Heeney had 10 kills and 6 digs.
Next week, on February 6th, the Hawks will host the Niagara Knights in what will be their last home game of the 2018/19 season.