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The Regiopolis-Notre Dame Panthers won their fourth Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association boys AAA volleyball gold medal, edging the Oakridge Oaks of London by the slimmest of margins, 3-2, in the championship match played before a standing room only crowd at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School on Saturday night.
The No. 3 Panthers, in an emotional match that could not have been much closer, dropped the first set 27-25, after having trailed 9-1 at one point and then scratching their way back to actually take a 24-23 lead.
Regi came back to win the second set, 27-25, after taking a 16-8 lead and then having Oakridge surge back to within one point, 17-16. Regi opened a 21-19 lead but the Oaks were not finished, tying it 23-23. The Panthers didn't fall behind, however, and had two chances to take the set — with leads of 24-23 and 25-24 — before finally getting the win.
The third set was close throughout, and Regi once again had set points at 24-23 and 25-24. Oakridge, however, didn't give in and went ahead 26-25 before finally prevailing, 33-31, putting the Oaks one set win away from their fourth win in 13 years.
Regi took the fourth set, 25-23, in another tightly contested battle with neither team getting too far in front, setting the stage for the fifth and final set. Regi started to pull ahead midway through the match, opening an 8-6 lead, and also had leads of 10-7, 11-9 and 13-10 before finally taking the provincial crown with a 15-11 win.
Overall, Regi had just a four-point advantage, 123-119, as the Panthers collected their 10th consecutive OFSAA medal.
Regi Reaches Championship Match at OFSAA Boys Volleyball
Claude Scilley - https://cscilley.wordpress.com
Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers will play for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations boys AAA volleyball championship this afternoon.
The Panthers will face London Oakridge at 5 o'clock at Holy Cross Secondary School.
Regi advanced to the final with a 3-1 semifinal win Saturday morning over Jacob Hespeler of Cambridge, a match that began with a marathon 35-33 Panthers victory in the opening set. From there, Hespeler tied the match with a 25-23 win, before Regi prevailed 25-18, 25-22.
Oakridge took top-seeded Chatham Kent, the two-time defending provincial champion, in straight sets, 25-18, 25-21, 25-21.
Seeded third in the 20-team field, the Panthers go into the final undefeated, with six straight victories. Oakridge, the No. 2 seed, is 5-1, having lost to Hespeler in the preliminary round.
Regi and Oakridge are no strangers to the championship match at OFSAA—Oakridge has won five provincial banners in the last 17 years, most recently in 2011; Regi is seeking its fourth OFSAA title in the last 12 years.
The Panthers won back-to-back championships 2009-10 but, oddly, though this is the fourth time in the last nine years the tournament has been held in Kingston, Regi has never won at home.