ETOBICOKE, ON: After three relatively weak tilts to open the 2016 regular season, the Hawks will be challenged this Thursday evening at home, as the 4-1 Sheridan Bruins roll into the Humber Athletic Centre. The first serve is set for 6:00 pm.
The Hawks, currently 3-0, got their northern swing out of the way early and swept Cambrian and Boreal in three straight sets this past weekend. As mentioned above, the competition Humber has faced sit at or near the bottom of the league thus far, as the three opponents check in with a mark of one win and thirteen losses. The plus in these games is that head coach Chris Wilkins was able to provide significant playing time for his entire roster, but on the other hand, the team has not been tested. If not for the extensive and competitive pre-season schedule played by the Hawks, playing a potentially tough squad could pose a problem.
Of the four Sheridan wins this season, three have come against the same teams that Humber has dominated. The Bruins also knocked off the Niagara Invitational finalists from Fanshawe. Their only blemish was a tight 3-2 loss at home on November 5 against Redeemer.
The Bruins have a freshman laden team, as eleven first year players join only four returnees. Of their top five leading scorers, only veteran Taylor Ley appears. Her point per set total of 2.7 ranks second on the team. Bailey Ratcliffe checks in at 3.0 pps, while Tara Anne, Tamia Cooper-Evelyn and Rachel Abrahams all have marks about 2.0 pps.
A number of Hawk players have solid offensive numbers, but the list may be skewed as the coaching staff have held players out of putting up big numbers in favour of spreading out the touches. Freshman Breanna Golding leads the way in kills (21), total points (35) and points per set average (4.4). Devan O'Connor and Alley Newman check in close behind, at 3.6 and 3.0 pps, respectively
To win the game, the Hawks need to bring their tough service game, and continue to pass well to allow their potent offence to kick in. If Humber can limit any substantial point runs by the Bruins, they will put themselves in a very good position to come away with a home win.
Humber has consistently had solid fan turnout, and the team hopes that this will continue on Thursday and provide them with noise and excitement that will spur them on.
If you are unable to attend, you can catch the game LIVE, as BRTV, the Official Broadcaster of the Humber Hawk will be providing their normal outstanding coverage.