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Thunder women end regular season with hard-fought victory

The Algonquin Thunder women’s volleyball team ended their regular season on a high note, taking a closely contested 3-2 victory over the La Cité Coyotes on Feb. 14. Rylee Leger led the way with 17 points, including 12 kills, while Serah Rounds-Zavitz contributed 14 points.

The win was the 13th of the season for the Thunder, putting them into third place in the East division.

The Thunder took the first set 25-13, controlling the majority of the action. The second set was a different story, as the Coyotes took over en route to a 25-16 set victory.

The third set was a dominant one for Algonquin, as they cruised to a 25-7 victory, potentially awakening La Cité going into the fourth set, the most competitive one of the match. Both teams traded points, with the score remaining close until the very end. La Cité would claim the set by a score of 25-22.

The fifth and deciding set was equally close, as both teams gave it their all in an attempt to claim the victory. In the end, the Thunder would emerge victorious, taking the set by a final score of 15-11.

Thunder coach Everton Senior said after the game that giving everybody playing time ahead of the playoffs was key.

“We wanted to get everyone in today, since it was our last regular season match. I found when we had people on the bench, we were kind of relaxed a little bit too much and had way too many errors,” said Everton. “We had one starter who was sore, Elizabeth Coakeley, so we only played her one set.”

The game against La Cité had no effect on the standings for either team, as Algonquin was already looking ahead to a crossover match ahead of provincials. That allowed Senior to rest some of his starters and give everybody else a chance to get in some game action.

“This match didn’t mean anything for either team. If it did, it would have been starters guns-a-blazing. Since it didn’t, we were just trying to get everyone in as much as we could,” he said. “I wanted the ‘W’, obviously, but I just wanted everyone to get in and get a little more experience.”

Senior acknowledges that the crossover match against Niagara on Feb. 17 will be a challenge, and the women are aware of it.

“It’s going to be tough on Saturday, I just spoke to the girls about that,” he said. “We’re going to have to probably play our best match on Saturday if we want to advance.”

The win over La Cité makes it two in a row, following a 3-1 victory over Georgian on a night where the Thunder honoured fifth year player Rounds-Zavitz. After the Georgian match, in which the Thunder won the first two sets before dropping the third set, she admitted the team was prone to bad habits.

“Volleyball is such a mental game, you can’t lose focus,” said Rounds-Zavitz. “When ahead we tend to lose energy.”

The two game winning streak is a welcome sign heading into the crossover match, as it comes on the heels of two consecutive losses, to Loyalist and Seneca, respectively. Following the loss to Seneca, coach Senior expressed concern over whether or not his team would even make it to a crossover match.

“We’ve got to wipe that clean and let it go, and get ready for tomorrow,” he said. “Georgian is going to be another tough opponent and we’re trying to get ourselves ready for a crossover match. If we don’t perform better than that then our season will be done next Saturday.”

Thankfully, it won’t come to that. Algonquin hosts Niagara on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m., with the winner advancing to provincials Feb 22-24.

With files from Tyler Kidd and Kavan Young

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