Hawks off to a hot start in co-ed volleyball

Danforth blanks Eastern Commerce in Apr. 15 match

The Danforth Hawks co-ed volleyball team kicked off their season in style, blanking the Eastern Commerce Saints 3–0 on home turf Apr. 15.

The Hawks, the 2010–2011 co-ed volleyball city champs, got into stride quickly — despite a winter of no sports for the volleyball powerhouse. With a large cohort of players, and some confidence instilled by coach Mark Graul, the Hawks’ power game was picking apart the Saints’ defense from the outset.

“We didn’t let up,” said Sara Yan, the Hawks middle, “We pushed for every ball. We worked as a team just to win three sets straight.”

With powerful returns courtesy of Andy Phan and Connor O’Brien, the Hawks looked in mid-season form. The Saints, looking to will their way into some momentum, couldn’t build any.

The end of the first set, a 25–9 Hawks win, brought a spirited talk in the Saints’ huddle.

“We just talked about really wanting it,” said Naura Camara, the Saints right side hitter. “Everyone was joking, we understand it’s good to have fun, but we have to get serious soon.

“Our coach talked to us and said ‘Cut out the laughs and get serious.’ ”

The Saints lost the second set, 25–12, in similar fashion.

But, in the third set the small Eastern squad played valiantly. Tactically, they were finally able to return well-paced balls off the attacks of the Hawks attack. The Saints’ libero, DJ Dixon, was able to bounce a speedy spike back over in a flash.

“My whole team is not volleyball players, we only have a couple,” Camara said. “But, for our team, we’re okay. We just stick together, have fun. We’ve been losing, but we still smile, still had jokes.

“We have resiliency. We’ve been down a lot, and every game we played we still lost, but our score has gotten higher and higher and higher.”

The 25–18 third set was an easy win, but some odd passing mistakes and communication errors kept the Saints close at points in the set.

“We let up a bit at the end, but for the most part we stayed focused,” O’Brien said.

The Hawks are basking in the victory for now, but they are a squad that wants to meet and exceed expectations. As the winner of the south region in co-ed volleyball, the Hawks are looking for a four-peat.

“I think it’s positive pressure,” O’Brien said. “It helps our reputation when we go into schools. It makes the play better.

“They all want to beat us. so they step up their game. So, we have to step up our game to match them.”

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By: Perry King
Posted: Apr 17 2013 2:46 pm
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto