Hawks surprising themselves with progress
By Darren Lum
Published Oct. 15, 2019
When your sports team is looking to the future for on-court success, competitiveness is usually hard to come by.
However for the senior Red Hawks boys’ volleyball team they’re bucking this trend, keeping exhibition matches close, pushing opponents and even beating them. It’s given the first-year senior squad a glimpse of potential post-season glory.
Following a competitive 0-2 (22-25 and 18-25) loss to the visiting St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School Titans and an earlier 0-2 (18-25 and 15-25) loss to the I.E. Weldon Wildcats in the home opener on Tuesday, Oct. 8, head coach Brett Caputo said he really liked his team’s effort.
The two competitive home matches came on the heels of an impressive 2-0 (25-12 and 25 -15) road win against the Kenner Collegiate Vocational Institute Rams, a 0-2 loss to the I.E. Wildcats, including one narrow defeat of 27-29, and a 0-2 loss to last year’s COSSA winners Adam Scott Lions, which has six club players. Caputo said it was encouraging for his team to score at least a dozen points off of the Lions, who are likely OFSAA bound.
The momentum from the victory over the Rams carried over to their match against the Titans, which was a closely contested match even though the Hawks were down early – by as much as 13 points.
“We were down 7-0, but that was their best volleyball they played all year. But the score didn’t reflect that. It didn’t reflect how well we were playing. They were just winning those rallies. So eventually it will come. It’s gotta come,” Caputo said.
There’s added drama to the scenario, as the Hawks are scheduled to host the A Kawartha Championships on Nov. 5 at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. The seeding for this tournament will be determined by a Kawartha seeding tournament with three teams. The top team will earn a bye to the COSSA final (regardless of Kawartha finish) while the second and third will play each other. It’s an opportunity not lost on fifth year player Liam Little, who was a standout for the team with solid net play, consistent serving and spiking against the Wildcats and the Titans.
Little is enjoying his first and only eligible year with the team.
“I usually just play recreational, but getting the chance to play against other teams that are pretty good and getting the opportunity to lose and win I think that is a pretty good opportunity,” he said.
His first taste of high school volleyball comes after playing a couple years of public pick-up volleyball two years ago, which included mostly adult players. The experience provided a great basis for his skills and court awareness.
Caputo has appreciated the skills Little brings to the court and calls him a “team leader.”
“He helps with the cohesiveness of the team and he is the leader. He’s not a court captain, which is OK. They’re different roles,” he said.
Little believes in the team.
“The progress we have showed so far, knowing we only had a couple practices [all together] and a couple tournaments, I can see us doing well at Kawarthas and hopefully going to COSSA. I have high hopes for this group. I know we can do it,” he said.
Caputo admits it’s hard to predict progress or results in sports. The team is 2-2 on the season.
“In my mind we’re No. 2 and we’re COSSA bound at this point. We’ve got to continue to grow ... of course [so is everyone else too]. We’ll just see what happens,” he said.