ELMSDALE -- The Westisle Wolverines are 2-0 in tournament play early in the 2013 Senior Boys volleyball season. Their second gold medal performance, at the Cobequid Education Center Classic last weekend in Truro, was extra special, as they had to overcome injury setbacks to remain on top. The Wolverines were the tournament’s defending champions.
“I have been coaching this sport a long time and have been privileged enough to have had many great teams and highlights over the years,” said head coach Peter Bolo. “That was one of the gutsiest performances I have ever seen.”
The Wolverines won their first three matches of pool play, 25-14, 25-14 over Griffins from Wolfville, 25-13, 25-22 over Colonel Gray and 25-21, 25-12 over Sackville Kingfishers.
Their final match of pool play was against the host CEC Cougars, the defending Nova Scotia AAA provincial champions. The Cougars also took a 3-0 record into the match. The winner would earn a bye into the semi-finals.
The Wolverines prevailed 25-22, 25-19.
“We served really tough in all our matches”, assessed assistant coach Adam Gallant. “That, along with some great defense both at the net and in the back row were keys for us all weekend.”
But that’s when the injury bug set in. Co-captain and middle hitter Jack Perry had been playing with a sore back all weekend but couldn’t keep going after the round-robin play.
Grade 10 player, Cody Ellsworth was doing a great job filling Perry’s shoes until he went down with a sprained ankle with the Westisle Wolverines up 23-18 on the West Kings Wolverines in the first set.
With only three trained middles, the Wolverines were left to scramble, moving first year player Connor Gorrill to middle to try to eke out the final two points. West Kings did rally, but Westisle held on for a 25-22 win. They cruised to a 25-11 victory in the second set.
“Connor did a great job blocking in a position he was not used to,” said assistant coach Allan Clark. “Special mention also goes to Avery Arsenault, a back row specialist who had to move into a hitting role as well, and to backup setter Dryden Sellick who came off the bench and served really tough and gave us some solid backcourt play.”
Bolo praised his players for stepping up to fill holes created by two key injuries.
The final was a rematch against the host Cougars. The Wolverines came out again with the same improvised lineup and played rock solid, winning in straight sets, 25-15, 25-15.
“Coaches often say volleyball is a team game and this certainly proved to be the case (Saturday). The playoffs today were a prime example of overcoming adversity and stepping up when you are called upon,” Bolo observed “That is one of the things I love about sport. Every single player we have on our 11-man roster contributed in a big way to this victory. We, the coaches, are so proud of these young men.”
The Wolverines, who now have a 12-0 (won-lost) record to start the season, play a home-and-home series this week against Montague. They host the Vikings tonight (Monday) and travel there Wednesday. They will participate in the Colonel Gray Wall of Fame Cup tournament as defending champions in their next tournament outing October 18 and 19.
Cobequid Education Center Classic
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