Humber will play for seventh straight OCAA championship

Reporter: Luke Callebert

The Humber Hawks will get a chance to play for their seventh straight OCAA provincial title, as they beat the Trent Excalibur on Feb 21 to move to the gold medal game. The Hawks won the game 3-1 with set scores of 16-25, 28-26, 25-16 and 25-21.

“It was a tough game. It’s a very good team over there,” said Humber head coach Chris Wilkins. “I’ve watched them all season and I figured they were a team that was going to be in our way to get to the provincial championships.”

Before the game, Trent head coach Peter Carter tweeted out that this game was the biggest in Trent Excalibur women’s volleyball history.

The first set had the six-time defending champs from Humber looking sluggish. The Excalibur came out firing and had the Hawks reeling with two kills apiece from Sarah MacLoren and Rebecca van Staalduinen. The Excalibur played great defense holding three-time OCAA women’s player of the year, Kelly Nyhof, to just four kills while not allowing any other Hawk more than one. The Excalibur won the set 25-16.

The second was a back and forth thriller, with Trent in the lead or tied for almost the whole set. Humber took the set over late with a combination of Trent mistakes and Nyhof kills. The rally got the Humber faithful in the crowd going. The Hawks completed the comeback to win the set 28-26.

Trent came out strong, then faded in third set, gaining a 5-1 lead but allowed Humber to rally. The two schools would trade leads until Humber gained a 17-16 lead and never looked back. Nyhof would finish the set with eight straight serves including three aces in a row. Trent looked tired and was unable to get even a single point after the game reached 17-16. Humber won the set 25-16.

The Excalibur gave it all they had in the fourth and final set, but the big-game experience and leadership of Humber and Nyhof came through. Humber won the set 25-21 and booked its spot in the gold medal game against the Fanshawe Falcons.

“Being in these championship type games before has really helped us,” said Wilkins. “We got big leaders on our team like Kelly Nyhof and Thalia Hanniman.”

Trent will now play Georgian in the bronze medal semi-final at 11a.m. on Feb. 22. The winner will play either Redeemer or Seneca for third place at 4p.m.

The gold medal game will be at 6p.m. where Humber looks to beat Fanshawe for the third time in OCAA play this season.

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