Rosedale Heights doused any hope of a South Region divisional title for Ursula Franklin Flames with what can only be described as a stunning comeback on Jan. 24.
Spiking their way to a second win, one that qualified them for the eighth and final Tier 2 playoff spot, the Ravens won 2-1 (11-25, 25-22, 15-6).
Their turnaround from a dim first set, opening with a 9-1 deficit, was all about rousing the team from slumber, Rosedale coach Lynda Dalzell said.
“We were talking more about them being asleep in the first set and things we didn’t do,” she said. “We didn’t communicate.”
In between the first and second sets, Dalzell and student coach Ali Sabbah told their charges to call balls, slow down the pace and focus on tip coverage at the net.
“I think we started to panic a little bit and we were sending the first ball over a lot of times so we wanted to get back to three hits,” Dalzell said. “We have good hitters so we knew that once that set was there we would get points.”
Middle Kaleena Lee provided momentum-changing crosses in set two, all because of great feeds from setter Sarah Wigglesworth.
“It’s all the practices we’ve had together, she knows how I like it, which is close to the net,” Lee said.
Running out to a 7-1 lead thanks to strategic serving from Jordyn Gibson, the Ravens also had the referee’s calls on their side.
Ursula Franklin’s student coach Wyeth Wright was not pleased with the unfavourable penalties.
“Unfortunately, there were a few questionable calls,” he said of multiple two-touch and net infractions.
Regardless of officiating, Ursula Franklin, 5-3 on the season, was out of sorts with their steady stream of substitutions.
“We’re one of the top teams in the league and we’ve dominated with our serves but today we got out of our rhythm.”
Striker Beatrice White credited her team’s second set breakdown to overconfidence.
“I think we all were really confident in the first set and then once we got the second set started we lost the confidence,” she said. “We could see that people were getting down on themselves and not moving at all, which was weird.”
Fortunately for Rosedale Heights they were able to capitalize on the lost confidence, keeping pace with Ursula Franklin’s middles on several deep rallies, in particular in the closing set.
The starting six of Lee, Wigglesworth, Gibson, Alex Giamos, Mia Faircloth and Meredith Marty-Dugas all chipped in to wall up the Flames.
Coming together as a team was the catalyst, Lee said.
“In between sets or even after the game we talk to each other about it,” she said. “If somebody is in your zone, you’ve got to trust them to get it.
“The trust helps a lot.”