By Charlie Pinkerton
Ottawa’s two major competitive clubs had a strong showing at the 2018 Ontario Volleyball Championships, capturing a combined 12 medals at the April tournaments.
Ottawa Fusion’s 18U boys won the division 2, tier 1 gold at the provincial championships on April 29.
Fusion 18U boys head coach Jay Mooney praised his team as a whole for their effort at the championships.
“Grady (McClure) on our right side provided us with some heavy attacks to both the front court and back court, which put a lot of pressure on the oppositions block,” Mooney said.
“(Setter) Frank (Albert) ran a great offense and distributed the ball really well. Our middles Devon (Hart) and Milo (Hawke) really stepped up and provided us with some timely kills that forced their middle blockers to hold the middle court.”
The Fusion rolled over competition going 9-0 in the tournament. They only lost one set in playoff play, which they dropped against Toronto’s Galaxy Ghosts in a 2-1 semifinals victory, before defeating the London Volleyball Club in straight sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-16 to claim gold in their division.
Despite their 1st place divisional finish – and in part because of how they crushed competition throughout the tournament – Mooney said his team was discouraged by not having the chance to compete against the province’s best in division 1.
“They were proud of their performance but disappointed that they weren’t able to show they were peaking at a time where they needed to and just didn’t have the opportunity to test themselves against the top teams in the province,” Mooney said. “It was a little bit disappointing.”
The Ontario Volleyball Association moved to a model at the 18U level this year in which the top eight boys’ teams were entered into a separate high-performance division at the Ontario Championships. The Ottawa Fusion did not finish in the top eight before provincials.
“They have an argument to their peers and the OVA that they did belong in division 1,” Mooney said.
The Fusion had three more teams that were medallists: the 16U boys won div 1, tier 2 gold, the 15U boys won div 1, tier 3 bronze, and the 15U girls won div 4, tier 2 silver.
Ottawa’s Maverick Volleyball Club had eight teams that won medals at provincials. The 16U boys won div 1, tier 1 gold; the 15U boys won div 1, tier 1 silver; the 15U girls won div 1, tier 1 silver; the 16U girls won div 1, tier 3 silver; the 13U boys won div 1, tier 2 bronze; the 14U girls won div 2, tier 2 silver; the 15U girls won div 3, tier 2 silver; and the 14U girls won div 4, tier 1 bronze.
Mooney will coach Fusion teams at the 2018 Volleyball Canada Nationals in Edmonton over May’s final two weekends.
“This is their last time together,” Mooney said about the 18U boys team. “It’s really not about the club so much at this point as it’s a celebration for them to go out and compete hard with each other for the last time before they go on to universities and other endeavours.”
Fusion’s 16U boys, two Maverick 15U girls’ teams, Maverick’s 16U boys, and two Maverick 16U girls’ teams will compete at nationals May 17-19. Maverick’s 17U boys and 18U girls as well as Fusion’s 18U girls and 18U boys will play at nationals from May 20-22.