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Lions win Valley gold

 Locke's snap 22-year Valley drought


  The Lions edge Byron Southwood two games to one in the TVDSB AA girls' volleyball

   final for first gold medal in two decades at the tournament


  Friday, November 29, 2019


  • Lockes at Valleys
  • Lockes at Valleys
  • Lockes at Valleys
  • Lockes at Valleys
  • Lockes at Valleys
  • Lockes at Valleys


By Rob J. Ross 

LONDON, ON. - For the first time in 22 years, the Locke's Lions are Valley champions.

Locke's won the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) Girls' AA volleyball gold medal, defeating the Byron Southwood Spitfires, 25-15, 26-27, 15-13, in the final, held at Clarke Road Secondary School.

"Our school has never got a first place medal in anything, so this is a pretty big win," Lions' captain Emma Westbrook said. "It feels very good, very, very good."

After winning game one rather handily, Locke's had a battle on their hands for the remainder of the match. The Lions had a couple of opportunities to take game two, but Southwood pulled an one point victory.

The Spitfires carried the momentum for an early lead in game three, but the Lions responded to come out on top and clinch the title.

"It was very intense but we just had to keep calm," said Westbrook. "We had a lot of practice in these game situations and knew that we could do it."

The Lion's cruised through pool play going 6-0, before dusting Ilderton Oxbow, 25-9, 25-15, in the semifinals.

"Team unity. We don't depend on one player. They are consistently doing their best," said Lions' coach Pete Pilitsis. "We feed off our energy. We had a huddle and I said to the girls, let your anxiety out and scream as loud as you can. It doesn't really work, but it worked. They all screamed. We try to keep things positive. It's next point always."

An upcoming team gathering will recognize the entire season, including winning the TVDSB Elgin regional crown.  

"This group of girls deserve it. They're amazing," Pilitsis said. "We're going to celebrate and love this moment."

Straffordville missed advancing from their AAA girls' pool, with a 2-4 record.

At Oakridge high school, the Southwold Cougars' boys brought home silver medals, losing to London Jack Chambers, in the AAA final.

"Jack Chambers had three very tough servers. We had to battle hard to minimize the impact from those players," Southwold coach Keith Monteith said. "The boys never gave up. They only won one of their first three sets, but they were able to regroup to win the last two sets and take second place in their pool."

The Cougars were 4-2 in pool play, only losing to Jack Chambers, before defeating Lambeth in the semifinals.

Summer's Corners didn't advance from pool play, also at the boys' AAA tournament.

At Lucas high school for the girls'  AAA tournament, the Trudeau Voyageurs went 4-2 in pool play, but were squeezed out of semifinal berth, on a tie-breaker between three teams by one point.

In boys' single-A action, the Dunwich-Dutton Dynamos missed qualifying for the semifinals, finishing fifth overall.