[attach]2750[/attach]It’s a senior boys volleyball run four years in the making.
Though Runnymede Ravens are the defending A champions in the city, head coach John Kalantzakos said this year’s team only has two return players from that title run to OFSAA.
“Over the four years they haven’t been the strongest players but they have bought into the system,” he said. “They’ve worked on it and it has paid off this year.”
It showed as the Ravens new corps filled all holes in their alignment knocking off opponents Etobicoke Rams 2-0 (25-18, 25-21) Oct. 25.
The win keeps the squad undefeated heading into the West Region playoffs.
“We’ve lost some of our main guys from last year but these guys have stepped up,” he added. “This year was their time to step up and they’ve done it.”
On the attack were Kevin Lam and Ryan McQuoid as the two middles stuffed blocks and dug in deep when it mattered most.
“It was a great all-round effort,” Kalantzakos said.
Switch sides of the net and Etobicoke was looking to find a united front, head coach Crystal Lovegrove said.
“We’re just trying to keep a positive attitude instead of getting the win,” she said. “I’m also trying to get them to play together as a team.”
Keeping time with Runnymede were Aleksa Veliminovic and Donald Fida. Efficient at service was Daniel Badzynski.
In the first set the three Rams took a 9-7 lead before unforced errors let Runnymede move ahead.
Still, Lovegrove said staying focused as a unit kept the game close.
“I don’t want to just single these guys out,” she said. “Without the rest of the team they wouldn’t have done as well as they did.”
Finishing 4-3 on the season, Etobicoke will claim third place if George Harvey Hawks lose to Martingrove Bears.
Lovegrove is confident her crew can pull together for the playoffs.
Saddled with an undefeated record and a defending champions target on their backs, Kalantzakos share her optimism.
“Nov. 1 and 2 are the quarters. Nov. 3 and 4 are the semis and Nov. 9 is the finals,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll make it.”