Riverdale gets a late scare from Parkdale

THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF: Riverdale’s Leighton Peart blocks a shot from Parkdale captain Milan Patel during the first round of South Region senior boys volleyball. The Raiders won the Tier 1 tilt 2-1 but not without some scrappy competition.

The South Region volleyball playoffs have begun, and if their match against Parkdale Nov. 2 is any indication, Riverdale is ready for more than just the regionals. They’re thinking Citys.

It came right down to the last point in the third set, with the Raiders being threatened. The teams continued a back-and-forth rally extraordinaire until Riverdale’s Brian Nguyen bumped the ball into the rafters.

However, on the next play Parkdale, who came back from a 9-1 deficit, lost the match on a foot fault. The final was a 2-1 (20-25, 25-17, 15-13) victory for the Raiders.

Still, their scrappy nature, as Riverdale coach Ryan Wakelin described it, boosted his charges’ playoff confidence.

“Oh yeah, it was very worrisome, but it was all good because when you win games like that, it really puts you in a position of being playoff ready,” he said.

His Panther counterpart, Leah Cogrove commended her crew for holding their own against a AAA squad.

“They had an amazing comeback in the third set,” she said. “They were phenomenal.”

Leading the charge for the Panthers was captain Milan Patel, and with him at the net was Tenzin Sherab.

Fighting block for spike with them were Raiders standouts Leighton Peart and Simon Martin.

“Simon is usually a dominant guy in the middle but today he was more dominant than I’ve seen,” he said. “Hopefully that’s not the culmination of his career.”

Peart’s adrenaline was pumping through the game, as he admitted his teammates weren’t expecting such a fight.

“They were a really scrappy team — their defence was phenomenal and we weren’t expecting that,” he said. “It’s good to see that in volleyball.”

In the end, the starting six-pack of Martin, Peart, Nguyen, Alex Aleksic, Aidan Morrison-Henshal and libero Gary Chow are set for the finals, hopefully against rival Danforth Tech.

“I wanted to win of course, but I know volleyball is a team sport so I was trusting my teammates to play at the level I know they can play at,” Peart said. “They showed me today what they were capable of.”

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