Lords season ends with loss to Redeemer

Reporter: Ryan Verrydt

Coming off a loss to the six-time defending champion Humber Hawks, the Durham Lords battled but came up short in a four-set loss to the Redeemer Royals, putting an end to their season.
“We played well yesterday, we just ran out of gas,” Lords head coach Shane Christopher said before the game against Redeemer. “We need to execute a little bit more consistently than we did yesterday.”
The Lords got off to a slow start in the first set as setter Meghan Renwick put the first serve into the net. Things wouldn’t get much better for the Lords as Redeemer would take 11 straight points on the strength of all-star Curtiss Straatsma’s serve as they cruised to a 25-11 win.
Down 7-4 in the second, Emily Gilbert continued her strong service game for the Lords and allowed them to climb to an 8-7 lead. The teams would trade the lead three times before the Royals started to pull away. With the score 18-15 for the Royals, Christopher called a timeout. The tactic seemed to work as the Lords powered back to tie the game at 19 when the Royals called a timeout. The Royals didn’t look back, taking the second set 25-22.
“We started strong and I think that really helped, in terms of mentally, for us just to start strong and take the first two sets,” said Redeemer head coach Doug Veldman.
Durham started the third set by taking a 4-1 lead, but the Royals took no time tying it up. The game was close, with teams trading points back forth until the Lords Jessica Broad fired off three straight service aces to give the team a 13-9 lead. Redeemer slowly chipped away, but with the game tied at 24 the Lords were able to capitalize on a long rally and then Rayan Bourne hammered one into the floor to give the Lords a 26-24 win.
Despite Broad’s serves in the third set, the Lords really struggled with their service game.
The momentum carried over to the fourth set and the teams again battled back and forth. The Lords opened up a three point lead to make it 9-6, but the Royals fought back. When they were leading 16-13, Christopher called a timeout to calm down his team. It didn’t seem to help as Royals middle Charlene De Vries scored two clean kills to give them a commanding 19-13 lead. The Lords tried to mount a comeback but De Vries was just too much to handle and the Royals took the fourth set 25-16.
“We didn’t execute,” Christopher said after the game. “We did, but we didn’t at the end. And you know what? We just couldn’t stop [De Vries].”
Even with the loss, the Lords were still cheering at the end of the game. Christopher had nothing but praise for the ladies.
“The girls always do whatever I ask them to do, so I’ve got to be proud of them in that aspect,” he said. “We were trying to get them to a point mentally for provincials and we got them there, and they came out and they played their hearts out, so I’m proud of them.”

Redeemer now moves on to the bronze semi-final game Saturday at 11 a.m. when they will take on the loser of Fanshawe vs. Seneca.
“We’ll watch now,” said Veldman. “We’ll see what we can exploit in terms of defence and offence. If we played like we played now, good things will happen.”
In regular season play the Royals lost to Fanshawe by scores of 3-0 and 3-1.