|Sting Men's Volleyball's Kyle McCann in action during a recent home game at Newnham Gymnasium.|
Thursday, December 8, 2011
By: Michael Katz, Seneca Student Sports Reporter
The Seneca Sting Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams have respectively shown flashes of brilliance and signs of improvement in the first half of their 2011-2012 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) seasons.
The Sting Men find themselves with the second-best record (9-1) in the OCAA’s East Region behind the undefeated Algonquin Thunder, and after an inconsistent start to the season, the Sting Women are back to the .500 mark after a recent streak of three consecutive wins (followed by two straight losses) including two impressive victories against the George Brown Huskies (5-5) and Algonquin (6-4).
The Sting Women currently sit tied for sixth in the OCAA East.
The three victories did not come easy - the club had to scrap its way through two grueling five game sets, which proved a test of the team’s mental toughness. First-year Senecan setter Giulia De Giorgio, a Liberal Arts student from Etobicoke, credits the team’s fitness for the their recent success.
“In a five set match, the team that’s in better shape often comes out on top. We do pretty well in that area.”
Neither match was “pretty” per se but the club did what was necessary to get the wins.
First-year head coach Shane Timms (of the Women’s Team; Timms has coached the men for three seasons) is proud of the team, which in his mind has successfully battled through a very difficult early season schedule.
“The first half was going to be tough for us, we just needed to push through and get as many wins going into the break as possible.”
Third-year libero Clare Weisser, of Queensville, Ont., a Therapeutic Recreation student believes the Sting cannot afford to “take a game off.”
“Each win is a really big one. Every game matters - if you lose a winnable game, it could really hurt you in the end.”
In order to ensure this doesn’t happen the team plans to continue improving on the communication aspects of their game. This will prove critical as they head off to compete with division heavyweights the Cambrian Golden Shield (10-0) and Trent University Excalibur (8-2).
De Giorgio believes that improved communication will lead to better results.
“We have to work hard and communicate, communicate and communicate in order to be successful.”
Timms likes both his teams chances at being successful, largely because of their ability to have multiple scoring threats on the floor at all times.
The Sting Men feature two players in the Top 20 in Kills in the OCAA this season including Peter Christian (87), a Fire Protection student from Morpeth, Ont. and Predrag Gajic (79), a Police Foundations student from Scarborough. Christian also finds himself in the Top 10 in points-scored with 125 at the Holiday Break. The Sting Men have won three in a row headed into the mid-way repose.
Both Seneca squads do not boast one sole all-star, rather, through Timms’ emphasis on the team-game, feature solid groups which consistently produce from all positions.
This makes it very difficult for opponents to focus on a single player in their schemes.
“It makes it very tough for opponents to know who we’re going to. Especially, late in matches,” says Timms.
This gives the Sting teams an edge over several divisional opponents.
De Giorgio agrees with her coach’s philosophy on team play.
“I’d rather have a team where everyone scores consistently. It’s a lot better than one player scoring most of the points.”
Sting Women’s Volleyball will be back on their home floor in 2012, so make sure to come on out and support the squad as they try to win the OCAA gold for the first time in 15 years.
Seneca’s next home matches will take place at Newnham Campus Gymnasium (Building G, Sports Centre, Lower Level) on Friday, January 27 at 6 p.m. against Trent, followed by games on Saturday, January 28 at 12 p.m. against George Brown and Wednesday, February 1 at 6 p.m. against the Durham Lords.
Focusing on the little things key for Men’s Team headed into Holiday Break
While the women’s team continues to improve, the men’s squad is playing at a high level of their own heading into the Holiday Break. The phenomenal start to the season is big news for the Seneca men’s squad which has never previously brought home OCAA gold.
However, despite the early success, third-year coach Shane Timms says the team still has a lot of work to do if they want to be number one come February and the OCAA Championship.
“We still need to work on focusing on every point, however, the effort is consistently strong.”
Third-year setter Kyle McCann, a Fire Protection student from Toronto, seems to be in agreement with his coach. He also believes the team needs to crack down on its errors.
“It’s tough to climb back into games when we lose our focus and get on bad runs.”
By the sounds of it, one might think this team is struggling, however, it’s quite the opposite - the team is happy to be working out these early season kinks in the first half of the year if they want to be at their best for February.
Third-year middle Justin Parsons, a Fire Protection Engineering student from Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland argues this is the best time of the year to be fine tuning the team’s game.
“We’re on our way up, improving every game. As long as we’re peaking at OCAA’s, we will be fine.”
The team isn’t dwelling on the loss to first-place Algonquin either.
“The team will dissect the match. We learn a lot more from losing than winning,” said Coach Timms of the difficult learning experience.
And if this team does in fact improve on what has already been a very impressive first half, there’s no reason to believe this team can’t come out on top by the time the OCAA Championship rolls around.
Catch the Sting Men at home in January 2012 at Newnham Campus Gymnasium (Building G, Sports Centre, Lower Level) as they take on Trent at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 27 and George Brown at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 28.