Norsemen victorious with shrewd defence

THE RIGHT STUFF: North Toronto’s Zoe Starkman stonewalls a Riverdale Raider spike. The Norsemen blocker proved to be formidable at the net helping her team to a 3-1 win over their visitors.

Raiders flustered by one-two punch of Starkman, Jeffery

North Toronto’s co-ed volleyball team learned sometimes you need a little finesse, sometimes you need a lot when it comes to battling Riverdale Raiders.

Winning their fourth game of the season 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-23) April 19, the Norsemen moved to a 3-1 record.

The victory was the most satisfying of the season for North Toronto captain Stephen Jeffery.

“We played a really good game today for sure,” he said. “It was the best game we played all season.”

Both Jeffery and blocker Zoe Starkman provided the one-two kill of the Raiders, but the Norsemen didn’t start in attack mode.

First set action saw strong rallies between the two teams, but costly errors, including several double touches and palmings against the Red and Grey, led to a lost round.

Calls made by the ref caused frustration on North Toronto’s behalf as Jeffery said they weren’t going both ways.

“The ref had been letting most of the calls go, but he was selective on the ones he was picking,” he said. “He seemed as though he was being selective on our side.”

Raider Alan Yee’s strong service led to four straight points and the eventual set victory.

With a strong attack from Colin Bell, the Raiders managed to keep North Toronto honest, even though they would lose the next three sets.

But Bell’s spiking of the ball was not enough, as Riverdale coach Karen Gallagher said the boys were not clicking in the backcourt.

“They never got a really good flow going throughout the whole game,” she said. “I made some substitutions, trying to get everyone in, because I’m still not sure which three boys want to play the most.”

The third set was when Starkman started matching Bell’s kills.

She stuffed a hard-hit spike back in the Raiders zone, sending her teammates into a frenzy. Jeffery answered her guard with standout spikes that made like comets over the net.

Norsemen coach Elizabeth Markovski said she was elated by her charges pillaging of Raiders defence.

“Obviously our hitting, blocking, good hustle, and picking up on a weak link — Riverdale not having a strong block — was good,” she said.

Gallagher cited inexperience as the deal breaker for the Raiders.

“We are a pretty young team. We have two grade 9s and three grade 10s on the team,” she said. “The season is really early and we just got skills that we need working on.”

Still, she was optimistic her crew could iron out their wrinkles.

“Hopefully at practice tomorrow we’ll be able to fix a couple of things and have a good game,” she said.

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