Parkside completes undefeated TVRA run, edging Central Elgin in senior S-E final
Friday, November 10, 2017
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - They were the class of their division all season.
But the Parkside Stampeders received a push from their rival Central Elgin Titans, in the Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA) South-East senior boys volleyball final, held at Parkside Collegiate Institute, on November 9.
The Stampeders prevailed, taking a thriller, three games to two.
Parkside had cruised through the regular season, going 9-0, including dusting the Titans twice.
In the semi-finals, the Stampeders brushed aside Woodstock Huron Park, in three games. It appeared to be going the way of a sweep in the final too, leading the best of five game match, two nothing, until the Titans pushed back.
“The atmosphere was incredible in the gym. That was good and bad, as it was a challenge for our boys to stay focused,” Parkside coach Chris Palmer said.
“We expected to win three straight because Central hadn’t taken a set off us all year. They played really well, scrappy defence and picked up a lot. We faced adversity after dropping that third set and in the fourth set, we just shut down mentally.”
The Titans tied the affair, taking games three and four, 25-23, 25-14.
“Central really brought it. They took it to us. I don’t think for a second we took them for granted. We rolled the first two sets and then for the next two, we checked out mentally,” Palmer said. “We were bickering, starting to play the blame game.”
Potentially saving the Stampeders’ season in the fifth game, with the score knotted at 10, was Noah DosDantos.
“DosSantos made a ridiculous play,” Palmer said. “The ball was put over the net, shank pass, he went and got it from the other side of the net, brought the ball back. We then had a big block and got that point, it was 11-10 and then we rolled the next four points. It was like a TSN turning point.”
Central Elgin eliminated Ingersoll, in their semi-final.
Parkside returns to WOSSAA AA. The Stampeders lost in the gold medal game, a year ago to Stratford Central, who went on to win silver at OFSAA. The two teams meet in the semi-finals this year, November 16, at South secondary school.
The Stampeders’ season thus far, includes two tournament wins, a silver medal and a semi-final appearance in a fourth tourney.
“We don’t give any free balls. We do our best not to just put the ball over the net and give them (opponents) a free ball that they can pound back at us,” said Palmer, touching on team strengths. “We have four really good spin servers. We serve tough and we do a really good job at passing the ball.”
Parkside’s junior team wasn’t as fortunate, following a 10-0 regular season, in the South Division. Ingersoll, the East division’s top team, at 8-0, upended the Stampeders, in the TVRA South-East junior final.