Tournament focuses Hawks on fundamentals
By Jenn Watt
Published Oct. 10, 2017
The Red Hawks boys’ volleyball team got a chance to test out their skills on the court Thursday during an exhibition tournament at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Athletic Complex.
Facing much larger schools with more experienced teams for the first time, the Hawks found themselves learning on the fly, playing back-to-back matches against St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, I.E. Weldon Secondary School and LCVI, all of Lindsay.
Each match was best two out of three sets and while the boys were defeated in each match, their coach Brett Caputo said they improved throughout the day.
“We performed better than expected based on last week’s results,” he wrote in an email to the Echo, referencing games against Peterborough schools Kenner Collegiate Vocational Institute and St. Peter Catholic Secondary School.
“I was really impressed with how the team competed this week. We are starting to put the pieces together and play as a team.”
During their first matchup, against St. Thomas Aquinas, the Hawks found themselves playing a team with greater cohesion, more aware of the rhythm of the game. More than a few of St. Thomas’s serves went unanswered, however, there were also some smart moves, deft blocks and effective spikes from HHSS.
On the sidelines, coach Caputo advised his team to relax and be nimble as the serves made their way across the net.
St. Thomas won the first two games 25-11 and 25-10.
“St. Thomas is a seasoned team with a number of second year players,” Caputo said. “Our team is composed of only first year (Grade 9) players. There is a big adjustment from elementary school.”
Their next match against I.E. Weldon returned wins for that school 25-14 and 25-9. Taking on LCVI, their scores improved with 25-16 and 25-15 for the Lindsay school.
For the first time in decades, HHSS has a boys’ volleyball team and Caputo has explained that his intention is to build the team over the course of the players’ four years in high school. The method has worked well before for the Haliburton school, with the basketball team.
The players understand that they’re tackling a steep learning curve, he said, and that the plan is about long-term growth.
“I explain the learning process with a comparison to driving to the team. We are trying to learn how to play while competing. It would be the equivalent to learning how to drive on the 401 for the first time during rush hour,” he said.
HHSS plays a tournament Tuesday, Oct. 10 in Peterborough and then another in Lindsay on Thursday, Oct. 19 and will continue to work on the fundamentals of passing, footwork and system play.
“Passing will be the key to any junior team this year,” Caputo said. “If a team can pass the ball consistently to their setters, then they will be able to put together an attack.”