Norsemen serve up a big welcoming

NET GAIN: North Toronto middle and captain Henno Einola jumps up to stuff a Rosedale Heights attack during senior boys volleyball action Oct. 18. The Norsemen won 2-0 (25-12, 25-11).

North Toronto’s opponents Rosedale Heights back after a 12-year volleyball hiatus

It was a game that brought back memories for North Toronto Norsemen’s senior boys volleyball team.

The Red and Grey rebuilt their team at the junior level five years ago, coach Elizabeth Markovski said, and Oct. 18 they were facing a fledgling squad from Rosedale Heights — a team reborn after a 12-year hiatus.

“Rosedale is getting a team going after a long time off,” she said. “I really give them credit for starting something up and going for it.
“North Toronto’s team has improved greatly the last three to five years from the juniors coming into the senior team.”

Not wanting to overpower the Ravens, the challenge for the Norsemen in their 2-0 (25-12, 25-11) victory was to balance sportsmanship and level of play.

“Today’s game against a team that’s inexperienced is sometimes difficult because you want to play your game but, like in hockey, you don’t want a shutout of 10-0,” Markovski said, adding her starting six-pack is gelling well together.

Leading the charge was captain Henno Einola, whose strong crosses at the net led to the large win. Contributing was James Boyle with standout service, racking up five points in the first set and eight in the second on service alone.

Still, the Ravens held their own, especially with 10 members of the roster being of junior age, coach Doug Hanes said.

“We’re playing with kids who just turned 14 and they’re playing against senior players who are mostly 16 or 17.”

Standout performers were Daniel Sterling, a solid blocker at the net, and Ryan Borges.

But Hanes has had trouble trying to nail down practice time as Rosedale Heights is lacking space.

“Some of the major people have missed practices and because we play twice a week the gym is not available — we only have one gym,” Hanes said. “When a team is just developing and they’re not practising regularly, they’re not going to improve.”

With a little more time to plan strategy, Hanes said he hopes his charges will be ready for an upcoming tournament at Western Tech.

Next on the schedule for North Toronto were region leaders Danforth Redhawks Oct. 19 who would beat the Norsemen 2-0 (27-25, 25-23). The preparation for that game: five pushups for every missed serve against Rosedale — a sentence the players imposed.

“The Redhawks are known to be a really amazing team and we just have to be as sharp as we were in some of our tougher matches,” Markovski said.

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