Playoff picture clearer...sort of
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Feb 26, 2007  |  Vote 0    0

Playoff picture clearer...sort of

Stratford Gazette

The Junior and Senior volleyball playoff pictures became a lot clearer this week.

With a chance to secure first place on the line in both divisions the St. Mike's Warriors travelled to Goderich with hopes of locking up home court advantage for the playoffs.

But in both cases, the Warriors teams came up short and will now be focusing their efforts on second.

The Senior Warriors, who had beaten the tough Goderich squad early on in the season at a St. Mike's tournament, were downed in three straight sets (23-25, 21-25, 17-25).

"We played well. It's not like we did anything really wrong. They were all close games. Sometimes that's just the way it goes," senior coach Helen Thomson said.

The Junior Warriors managed to take one game away from Goderich, but ultimately lost their match as well (25-27, 25-14, 17-25).

"We had a couple missed serves on game point and that cost us. But as far as how we played, the first game was some of the the finest junior volleyball I've seen this year," Junior coach Ted Hopkinson said.

Both teams swept their other opponent on the day, South Huron, in straight sets.

"We wanted to be careful that we didn't underestimate their squad. We needed to take three and that's what we did," Thomson said.

Both coaches were conciliatory towards their opponents but were looking forward to meeting Goderich again in the playoffs.

But for both teams, before they meet Goderich again, they will have to go through Central on Thursday.

Heading into the week on the Senior side of the net, the Central Rams were holding down first place with a record of 15-6.

Those Rams now fall to third behind Goderich (20-1) and St. Mike's (17-3).

But, the Rams will still have a chance on Thursday to finish second.

As it stands now, Central needs to sweep St. Mike's to have a chance at finishing in second place.

Then it will depend on how the two fare against their other opponent on the day - the lowly Listowel - that will determine who earns the second seed and avoid meeting Goderich in the semis.

Barring a complete collapse by Goderich this week, they will host the opening rounds of the playoffs on Nov. 7.

The Huron-Perth rules prevent the same team from hosting both the Senior and Junior events.

So, in that case, the second Junior seed would then become the playoff host.

In this case, that honour would fall to St. Mike's Junior side of the net, something Hopkinson said he would more than welcome. "Of course we'd love to host the event. Having your crowd on your side is a plus," Hopkinson said.

He noted that the crowd was a factor in their games against Goderich this week.

"They had an early release for the Junior game. It was a little intimidating for our guys to play in front of their crowd like that."

The Junior Warriors aren't secure in second either though. With Goderich walking away with it (23-1), St. Anne's is still breathing down St. Mike's neck. It really will come down to the last day of the season.

"By the weekend everything will be clear as to who will finish where," Hopkinson said.

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