By DAVE PAUL
Photos & Video by Pat Brethauer
The St. Clair boys volleyball dynasty lives on. The Colts swept the senior and junior boys high school finals, beating St. Pat's in both championship games, Friday at Lambton College.
It was the seventh straight LSSAA title for the senior boys from St. Clair -- also winners of a remarkable 12 of the past 14 championships.
Colts coach Laurie Leckie-Hamill said St. Clair's volleyball teams have been fortunate to have had "great kids, who work really hard," over the past decade-and-a-half.
"We (the senior winners) owe a lot to our junior program. It has always been strong as well. ... It's just a solid program, all the way through," added Leckie-Hamill.
Friday's doubleheader began with a very close junior final with the underdog Colts beating St. Pat's in a thrilling five-game match.
"My guys worked so hard this year." Head Coach Sue Harrell said "We were in 5th place and went to 3rd then went head to head with Northern. We ended beating them in five games then last night in practice I lost my starting middle (Dan Joyce). The rest of my team had to step up and they did."
The two teams traded wins in the first four games (25-12 and 26-24 Colts and 25-22 and 25-18 Irish) before the Colts prevailed in a nail-biting 15-13 fifth game.
"Why wouldn't my team drag it out? Everybody has to pay money to get in it." Harrell jokingly said "It just shows the maturity of the kids. They never seen this type of thing before it's such a great learning experience for them and a great way be positive about school and I love that."
Jaden Lumley was named Player of the Match for St. Clair while John Vanos took the honour for St. Pat's.
The senior game was not as close, with the Colts winning in three straight games, 25-20, 25-19 and 25-20.
The Colts were strong at the net, showing a lot of finesse by scoring on a large percentage of dump shots, as well as a great power game, keyed by Mitch Bigras, Luke Van Reenen (who co-led the team with nine kills apiece) and Player of the Match Joey Vanderwal.
Leckie-Hamill gave credit to the St. Pat's team she said "played very well."
Still, she said her Colts were their own worst enemies in the third game when they fell behind 5-0 and trailed late, 19-15, before rallying to win 25-20.
"We made a lot of our own mistakes," said Leckie-Hamill, who called several timeouts to "get them to focus. It worked ... we got our game back on track in time," to pull out the victory.
Dan Dennis was named Player of the Match for St. Pat's for his strong all-around performance.
The game was played in front of a jam-packed crowd in the college gymnasium, estimated by Lambton's John Faragher to be "in excess of 500 people."
The Colts will try to move on in the OFSAA AA volleyball season. The Seniors host Chatham MacGregor on Monday, in semi-final play at 6 p.m and the Juniors travel to Wallaceburg on Tuesday at 4:30. A win on Tuesday will bring the Juniors back to St. Clair on Thursday for the final.
Watch Highlights on YouTube
Jr. Boys - http://youtu.be/vRFsQ4m4CYc
Sr. Boys - http://youtu.be/9OXnKWb5pzI
The LSSAA girls basketball finals will be played Saturday at SCITS with the junior game at 5 p.m. and the senior contest at 7 p.m. Northern faces St. Pat's in both matchups.
St. Clair Colts
2013 LSSAA Sr. Boys Volleyball Champions
St. Clair Colts
2013 LSSAA Jr. Boys Volleyball Champions