Danforth Collegiate is confident these days, but don’t mistake it for arrogance.
Coach Mark Graul shares his team’s self-assurance they can snatch the South Region title quicker than a Redhawk on a Raider.
Nov. 8 proved to be a successful semi-final game for Danforth as they kept an ongoing feud with Riverdale alive.
The Redhawks, led by captain Aidan Haslett, doused the Raiders’ fire 3-0 (25-18, 29-27, 25-11) in the senior boys volleyball semi.
All members of Danforth’s starting six-pack: Ahmed Khan, Aidan Haslett along with brother tandems Josh and Kyle Amow and Hakam and Ertu Karakos contributed to the victory.
Though the second set was a step back, Graul said, the team knew they could regain the lead while down 23-21.
“We played a lot of tough games this year so even though we were down second match 23-21, we knew we were going to come back,” he said. “We have a lot of confidence in our abilities and our defence is strong so that’s how we like to block — strong.”
A berth in the finals was just what captain Haslett expected.
“We’ve worked hard all year, just came out of a really tough tournament that we finished second in,” he said. “That was against a bunch of triple-A teams that will probably play at OFSAA.”
Predatory as they were, the Redhawks worked the lines on serves and blocks.
“We weren’t afraid to serve the ball on the lines or deep,” Graul said. “That’s our forte, to be aggressive.”
With that game plan Danforth has only ceded one set during TDSSAA play all season, Raiders coach Ryan Wakelin said.
But even with the numbers working against them, he lauded his charges.
“Danforth by far was the favourite. I was pretty proud of our guys in the sense that on paper we didn’t have the firepower to match them because they’ve only dropped one set all year,” Wakelin said. “I was really proud of our guys because they battled pretty hard for the first two sets.”
“The third set wasn’t particularly something to write home about, but the second set really illustrated the fact we belonged with them.”
Riverdale played like a team drained in the third, but stamina was far from Danforth’s problem.
For the entirety of the game, the Redhawks’ six-pack performed at the top of their game.
They did so again Nov. 11 in the finals, winning 3-0 (28-26, 25-18, 26-24) over Bloor Bears.