Raff Delfin bumps the ball during the Raiders 25-22, 19-25, 15-8 gold-medal win against the Panthers at Holy Rosary High School on Saturday. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The Holy Rosary High School Raiders junior varsity boys volleyball team has their revenge.
The Raiders defeated the Paradise Hill School Panthers 25-22, 19-25, 15-8 in the gold medal final of the purple and black’s home tournament on Saturday.
The Panthers seemed poised to capture their second gold medal in consecutive years at the Raiders tourney through a dominant performance in the early parts of the second set, before Ben Omorodion took charge with his serve to bring the boys back.
“We had the momentum from the second set coming into the third set and we just kept that momentum going,” said Raiders power Avery Wever. “We got some serves in and got some good hits.”
The Panthers looked confident that they would duplicate their finals win against the Raiders, by staging a quick surge to start the first set 10-4 thanks to the offensive prowess of Mitchell Leer, both at the net and from the serve line.
Strong defence by Jack Rogers and the ability of Raff Delfin to dig out hits and score on his own got the Raiders back into the game midway through the set before a series of Panthers errors and Omorodion spikes led them to a win.
Two straight Panthers mistakes and a Delfin volley to Omorodion for the kill helped the Raiders to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. The duo teamed up again on the Raiders next serve with Delfin using Omorodion as a decoy, before safely tipping the ball into the Panthers mid-court for a 6-2 advantage.
The teams traded points throughout the remainder of the deciding set with two Panthers errors and a final strong block at the net by Omorodion, giving the Raiders a 15-8 win and the gold.
“They were pretty good at tipping it and we weren’t passing it up good,” said Leer.
“We just slowed down. I think it got into our head that we were going to win, but we weren’t really playing that well. We were lollygagging like it was an easy game, and that’s what really hurt us.”
The Raiders advanced to the championship game by besting the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School Barons 25-11, 25-20 in the tournament semifinal.
The Barons regrouped about an hour later to beat the Paradise Valley E. H. Walter School Trojans 25-19, 26-24, in the bronze medal match.
The Trojans got an early lead against the Barons in the first set on the serve of Logan Berg.
But a number of costly errors and a few aces by Chris Jahner gave the local boys a chance to come back and eventually get the win.
The second set played out in similar fashion with the strong serve of Jahner, helping the Barons rally during the middle of the game before he scored an ace to end it in extras.
“They had a big gap right on the power side,” said Jahner. “I saw the guy was flat footed and I aimed for that spot. I was hoping it would hit line and win us the game.”