ETOBICOKE, Ont –- The No. 14 Redeemer Royals (12-6, 3rd West) captured the OCAA Men’s Volleyball bronze medal following a five set victory over the Niagara Knights (11-7, 4th West), 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25, and 15-10 Saturday afternoon, at Humber College.
Both Redeemer and Niagara looked to get their star outside hitters’ going early in the first set. The Knights Jaydon Milne had six points early while Royals Brayden Stoffer was just behind with four of his own. Redeemer was able to reach the twenty point mark first with the score 20-17 prompting a Niagara timeout. The Royals would hold onto close out the first set taking it 25-21.
The second set began with both the teams trading points; a 7-2 run midway through the set broke things open for the Knights leading to a Royals timeout trailing 17-12. A 4-0 run with the Knights on match point led to a timeout, but after the break Noah Bouius serve would go long, as Niagara would take the set 25-20 knotting things up at a set each.
Nieuwets and Tristan Swinden were huge for the Knights early in the third combining to score six of their teams first 10 points. Two big blocks by Elijah Bugiardini and Milne gave Niagara a 20-19 lead. The Royals quickly answered with a 4-2 run resulting in a Knights timeout now down 23-22. A block by Stoffers on the next possession put the Royals on match point. Nieuwets answered with a huge kill for the Knights, putting them down one. Stoffers delivered a kill after another timeout, giving Redeemer the set 25-23, now up two sets to one.
In the fourth set, the Niagara Knights were able to come out and build a quick 6-2 lead. The Royals managed to answer right back with a run of their own tying things up at six. The teams would remain within a point of each other until a 4-1 run by the Knight put them up 16-13. With the Knight on match point up 24-20 the Royals would answer with two clutch points forcing the Knights to take a timeout. A Jason Wildeboer ace after the break would bring Redeemer within one, but Nieuwets would answer with a kill for his side giving Niagara the set and forcing a fifth set.
With an OCAA men’s volleyball medal on the line, both teams came out strong to start the final set. The Royals reached the halfway point first but only led 8-7. Kills by Milne and Bugiardini gave Niagara a 10-9 lead, but Redeemer answered right back with two points to retake the lead forcing a Niagara timeout. Two straight ball handling violations following the timeout put Redeemer up 13-10 as Niagara took their final timeout. A huge block by William Winkelhorst put the Royals on match point, and Winkelhorst followed up the next possession with a tip kill giving the Redeemer the win, as they captured OCAA Bronze for the second straight year.
Second-year outside hitter Elijah Bugiardini was named the player of the game for the Knights, finishing with 17 points coming off 14 kills, two aces, and a block.
Second-year middle Noah Bouius was named the player of the game for the Royals, finishing with eight points on eight kills.