Bulldogs come up short in WECSSAA senior boys volleyball final

 

 

Volleyball FinalBy Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs made it to the WECSSAA senior boys volleyball final but fell short in their efforts to claim the crown.

After a three-sets-to-one match victory last Wednesday over Leamington put the Bulldogs in the final, it would be the Essex Red Raiders who would prevent General Amherst from winning the title as the Red Raiders swept Amherst 25-17, 25-22 and 25-17 Friday evening at Essex District High School.

The Red Raiders started quickly, scoring the first five points of the match. That set the tone the rest of the set, as the Bulldogs could get no closer than three points.

Amherst played better in the second set and got their first lead of the match when they went up 5-4. They led a good portion of the set and had the Red Raiders on the ropes at 21-18 but Essex rallied after a time out and went on a 7-1 run to close out the set.

The third set saw the Bulldogs get out to early five point leads – 6-1 and 7-2 – but Essex would claw back to tie and would eventually overtake Amherst and win the title.

“One of our key players went down with an injury. It’s tough to replace that,” said Amherst’s Dylan Jaber.

Jaber added the Bulldogs’ passing wasn’t great, going as far to state it was their “worst passing game of the season.

“Without passing, you can’t do much else,” he said.

The second set went “back and forth,” he added but they just weren’t able to pick up the win.

“When we needed to make plays at the end, we just didn’t,” said Jaber.

Jaber added, “It was just one of those days. We didn’t have it.”

Amherst coach Craig Lohnes also indicated it wasn’t in the cards for the Bulldogs.

“I just don’t think it was our night. We just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Lohnes.

Lohnes also pointed out the Bulldogs didn’t pass the ball the way they can and that prevented the offense from getting going like it can.

“That was key for us,” he said.

The 7-1 run to close out the second set by Essex was another key, as Lohnes said it may have been a different match had Amherst been able to hold on and win that set.

“I think that was the turning point of the match right there,” said Lohnes.

Lohnes said despite the loss, “we had a great year” and praised his team as being “a great group of guys that worked hard. I can’t say enough about our group of guys.”

Even though the Bulldogs were disappointed to not come home with the title, “someone had to lose and it was our turn tonight,” said Lohnes.

The Bulldogs’ semi-final win over Leamington was in Amherstburg and saw the visitors win 26-24 in the first set. Amherst stormed back and won the match, taking the next three sets by scores of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16.

Lohnes said a good number of players will be lost to graduation and believes next season could be a “restructuring” year for the senior boys volleyball team.

 

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