Game in Review: York Bronze Medal Match Windsor Lancers vs. York Lions

Windsor Lancers' 12 Curtis Loch tries to cut a ball past a tight York block in the Bronze Medal Game.

December 30th, 2010

Tait McKenzie Gym

York Excalibur Tournament Bronze Medal Match

Windsor Lancers vs. York Lions

After tough losses to UNB and Western respectively, the Windsor Lancers and York Lions met to decide who would take home some hardware. Both of these teams were familiar with each other after years of playing in the OUA. The bronze medal would be decided on who cared more to fight for it after the deflation of losing a chance at gold and silver. This match would also set the tone for the OUA season, set to resume in a week’s time.

Both teams decided to give extra court time to players that could use the experience. Windsor opted to leave 6 Ryan Le on the bench to start. He had been a key part of their win over Budo to put them in contention to a medal to begin with. York gave time to their second-string setter and libero. The two teams came out a bit slow with the combination of unfamiliar lineups and only having the bronze up for grabs. They ended up splitting the opening two sets, with Windsor winning the first 25-21 and York striking back 25-20 in the second.

By the third set, the OUA teams had fallen into a groove. The Windsor Lancers found an early lead with two consecutive aces. York didn’t do themselves any favours with an early missed serve. On the very next point, Windsor pulled off a tough dig and transitioned immediately to an attack for the point and a 10-5 lead. After an 11-5 timeout, the Lancers gave away an advantage with a missed serve of their own. However, Windsor 5 Kyle Williamson and 11 Harrison Oake put two huge power kills away in succession, followed by a 9 Jimmy El-Turk block to take back the momentum.  The Windsor Lancers looked in control at 14-7.

The York Lions weren’t about to sit down and take it, though. Three consecutive blocks, capped by 2 Felipe Humana-Paredes, brought the Lions back into the game. The Lancers, now on their heels, dropped a tip wide and were looking at a 14-11 game after four straight lost points. Lancers’ 13 Josh Edwards came into the front court and ended the momentum with a fluid quick in the middle. Humana-Paredes responded with a bigger kill, and Edwards fired right back with the hardest of all three right after. Windsor looked to have some stability at 19-14, but they gave away their momentum with another missed serve. Humana-Paredes put in an ace and two more service points to redeem his earlier missed serve, and to tighten the game to 20-19.

The Lancers’ Williamson put down two consecutive kills late in the game to move to 23-20, but he followed it by giving away another point on a missed serve. The serves really began to work against the Windsor squad. 15 Karim Khalil put away two consecutive kills, and 1 Ray Szeto fulfilled an energetic comeback with a block to tie the game at 24-24 in a game York had never led. The trend went unbroken, as the Lancers ended up with all of the set points, at 25-24, 26-25, and even 27-26 when Szeto missed a crucial serve in a tie game. The ensuing point saw a York error, and the Lancers barely got away with the third set 28-26, and put them up two sets to one.

The fourth set began a bit chippy, as the two teams looked to reinsert their more regular starting lineups. The York Lions took the early lead on high energy from always animated 4 Gregory Ivan. One of his signature blocks gave the Lions a 13-9 lead, and he continued a good frontcourt stand with another roof at 16-11. Lions 5 Nikola Sandic missed a serve to give the ball to the Lancers, but it was Ivan again with a quick to maintain the Lions lead.

The Lancers’ Edwards converted a huge quick to bring the game to 18-14 Lions. With the momentum going their way, Windsor packed the acting Lions libero 9 Timothy Yu. A Sandic hit that went wide brought the set to 19-18.  Sandic responded with confidence, and put the next ball down with a solid kill. A couple points later, Sandic hit the ball off the Windsor block for a point and came out brandishing an invisible tool belt as celebration. A Lions block gave them a 23-20 lead late in the set as they tried to force a fifth. The Lancers mustered a point, and Sandic hit another strong attack in what appeared to go in down the line. The referee thought otherwise, however. The score tightened to 23-22 Lions. 6 Ryan Le, a regular starter who just was reinserted on the Windsor side, put down a hard kill from the offside to tie the set for the first time. Lions’ middle Khalil gave the Lions the first set point, but Le responded with another offside kill to force extra points for a second straight set.

A poor Lions serve receive was bailed out by a Szeto kill to keep the set even at 25-25.  Another point for the Lancers was recovered by a second Szeto kill to stay even at 26-26. The Lancers’ Edwards gave Windsor their third set point with a kill, but Szeto evened the game for a third straight time. For a fourth time, Windsor took the lead. This time, Williamson had seen enough and finished the game with an emphatic kill from the right side. Windsor finished their comeback in the fourth set to win 29-17 and win the York Excalibur Bronze Medal.