Huskies take Bloor defeat as a learning experience

GRIN AND BEAR IT: Twin Bear blockers deny Humberside’s Mari Pikkov during varsity coed volleyball action April 19. Though the Huskies won the first set they would lose three straight, (25-23, 25-17, 25-23, 25-9).

Captain Evan Kataoka hopes young squad has time to gel

Humberside’s top guns have a lot to learn after a 3-1 loss to Bloor Bears.

Playing host to their Davenport-area rivals April 19 in co-ed volleyball, Huskies captain Evan Kataoka contributed his squad’s loss (25-23, 17-25, 23-25, 9-25) to a lack of games played and opportunity to gel.

“It takes us a while to get warmed up but (the Bears) have had a lot more experience than us,” he said. “They’ve played four or five games at a tournament and this is only our second game.”

What seemed to be missing from the squad was an ability to work the pass, Kataoka said.

Fellow Huskies middle, Mari Pikkov, agrees, adding the loss should provide the foundation for what they need to work on against Harbord, April 26.

“I think we can learn about our inconsistent hitting — clean that up — and we can work on our services,” she said.

Regardless of the results, Humberside came out strong in the first set, seeing strong service from Elizabeth Eng and Isabelle Montgomery.

Eng and Montgomery would also do double duty with Pikkov, blocking returns from Bloor’s Wilson Lee and Patrick Persaud.

Still in the second, they saw their lead volley away from them, as Persaud turned up the heat on his spikes.

“This season’s looking really good,” Bloor’s striker said after the game. “We’ve lost one set in two games.

The goal for the Bears, featuring members from the A Region senior boys OFSAA squad, is TDSSAA south region gold.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie between us because of all the games we’ve played with each other and I believe that will be the biggest thing in ensuring our victory this year,” Persaud said.

Though Persaud dominated at the net, kept his team’s spirit high — at one point motioning like he wore a championship belt around his wait — Humberside’s bright spot came from grade 10 Scott Johnston who entered the game in the third set.

In his first three services he brought the Huskies back to within one, and kept up his digs on the defence to earn his squad service again.

Kataoka commended his young striker.

“He’s really athletic,” he said.

“Volleyball isn’t really his main sport.”

Still, Johnston’s late addition did not help as Bloor pulled out the third set, and followed with victory in the fourth.

Both Kataoka and Pikkov were optimistic their squad can make the South Region finals, pulling through on long-fought rallies like the one they experienced against Bloor.

“It always hurts in volleyball when you lose such really close points,” Kataoka said.

“We just have a lot to learn for our next game,” Pikkov added.

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