The Cambrian Golden Shield women’s volleyball team were not about to let the additional hurdle of a playoff cross-over game stand in the way of their march to the OCAA Championships.
After securing a five set victory against the St Clair Saints just to gain entry to post-season play, the Cambrian ladies kept right on rolling this past Saturday, at home against the Loyalist Lancers.
With a record of 10-8, the Shield eliminated the fifth place team in the OCAA East, taking down the Lancers (12-8) in four sets, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 25-22. “We knew that it was going to be a tight match,” noted Cambrian head coach Dale Beausoleil, given that Loyalist had taken three of four sets in the two tournament matchups between the teams.
“We were going to have to contain their left side (Sara Piana Yafu),” Beausoleil continued. “She’s an outstanding athlete – jumps through the roof − going up over the top of our hitters. We had to understand that she was going to get big kills, and that this was okay. But then we had to side-out. We had to serve tough and cycle balls.”
In fact, Piana Yafu led all players with 19 kills, while a more balanced Cambrian attack featured Hayley Chisholm and Kelsey Watson, both with 11 kills, as well as Amanda Kring with ten.
While the trip to the OCAA Championships is an amenable one this year for Cambrian, as Canadore College in North Bay playing host to provincials, the road to a possible medal match is substantially more challenging for the Golden Shield.
First up on their schedule lies the powerful Durham Lords, first place finishers in the OCAA East with an impressive regular season mark of 19-1. Beausoleil and company maintain a great deal of respect towards the Lords, and their head coach Tony Clarke, a long-time friend from his days at the helm of the Trent Excaliber.
“Durham is blessed with a lot of height, and they can hit the ball really well,” said Beausoleil. “They have an outstanding team that we haven’t beaten in a long time. We’re going to have to serve tough and hit smart.”
Durham and Cambrian will meet at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, kicking off the OCAA tournament, with Trent and the Niagara Knights meeting at 3:00 p.m. Fanshawe Falcons and the host Canadore Panthers play at 6:00 p.m., and closing off the day is the Algonquin Thunder and Humber Hawks at 8:00 p.m.