A rematch of last year’s Tier 2 senior girls volleyball final saw a reversal of fortune for reigning champs Monarch Park, who were defeated by Leaside, 2-0 (25-18, 25-19).
In the face of a Lancers uprising, Lions captain Kathleen Porter bit the bullet and toughed an injury.
“My toe is broken and I had to play the first set because we only showed up with six girls,” she said.
Having no bench was cause for alarm for Monarch coach Adam Piwowarek, as his charges would take a hit if an injury occurred.
Down 8-5 in the first set, Piwowarek called a timeout as two members arrived.
After Leaside missed a serve, Monarch Park worked their way back into the game, whittling down the Lancers lead to 11-10.
An extra two players gave the Lions a much-needed boost.
“We play a lot better when we have positive energy,” Porter said. “We really tend to get down on ourselves when we’re down, but really the motivation comes from people on the bench.
“The motivation can move our feet and we can get energy.”
Energy came in bunches in set two as Monarch Park jumped out to a commanding 9-1 lead, in part to the service of Megan Maharaj and great net play by Neesha Kumar.
Still Leaside managed to play catch-up by keeping the lines open, co-coach Rabyah Murji said.
“What worked was talking together and getting those three passes on our side and slowing down the game to our pace,” she said.
Buoyed by home court, the Lancers tied the game back up at thirteens, and then spiked any further chance of a Lions comeback.
Helping to turn the game around were Leila Meema-Coleman, Morvarid Sanandaji, Chloe Evoy and Veki Raskovic.
Even with two straight sets wrapped up into a winning bundle, Murji said they need to work on a few details.
“What we need to work on for our next game is probably our attack and better communication,” Murji said.
As for last year’s Tier 2 champs, they are regrouping after losing some of their key players last year to graduation.
Porter is optimistic.
“A lot of the team this year has never played volleyball,” she said. “The people who haven’t played before have improved so much.
“I’m very proud of them.”