Trent Excalibur win first-ever OCAA women’s volleyball medal

Reporter: Luke Cellebert

The Trent Excalibur won the team’s first-ever medal in OCAA women’s volleyball on Feb. 22, taking the bronze medal game 3-1 from the Redeemer Royals. Set scores were 21-25, 25-18, 25-16 and 25-8 in Trent’s favour.

“I’m really proud,” said Excalibur head coach Peter Carter. “My assistant coaches and I have been here for 15 years together. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into that program. It’s really gratifying to come out and have the girls play so well and come home with some hardware.”

The players were just as excited.

“It feels amazing, just so good for our team,” said Trent’s Erin Clancy. “We worked so hard this season. I’m just so proud of us.”

The first set was an example of why the two teams had such successful seasons. Great back-and-forth rallies were the story of the set, with Trent taking an early advantage after Rebecca van Staalduinen went on a four-serve run that included two aces. The Royals would fight back on the strength of OCAA all-star Curtiss Straatsma’s attacks. Redeemer held on to control and won the set 25-21.

The Excalibur won the second set but not without struggles. Sarah MacLoren and Jaime Fryer struggled with their serving in the set, putting three serves combined into the net. Redeemer couldn’t make use of the points they were gifted and struggled to get any momentum. Straatsma’s vaunted attacks were neutralized as Trent’s defence took over the set. The Excalibur eventually pulled out the 25-18 set victory to even the set score at one.

The momentum fully turned in Trent’s favour in set three. Tied at 12, Straatsma bounced a kill off Alexandra McKee. The Excalibur’s van Staalduinen came right back on the next play and laced a kill down the line. On the next play, Samantha Belsey had a key block for the Excalibur.

Trent would never look back.

McKee landed a service ace, then a roll shot on the next play. Trent won the set 25-16.

Redeemer had nothing left in the tank for the fourth set. Looking sluggish, the Royals only managed eight points. Trent, on the other hand, looked energized and ready to put the Royals away. Making no mistake, the Excalibur ended the Royals season with 25-8 set victory.

Trent now looks forward to next season.

“We have a couple athletes leaving,” said Carter. “You saw Jaime Fryer, an incredible player in her first year. There’s a lot to keep building on. This win helps all those young people know what it feels like and hopefully we can keep it going.”

The Excalibur players are looking forward to next season just as much as the coach.

“I think we can only get stronger as we go on,” said Clancy. “We’ve got lots of strong rookies and we’re going to be better next year, I know it.”