Passing through the front hall of York Mills Collegiate puts a smile on Peter Hew’s face.
The senior boys volleyball co-captain is proud, because of what he and his team accomplished at the late November OFSAA tournament in Burlington. The troupe of 13 earned themselves a bronze medal, and the banner — emblematic of their success — hangs in the school’s foyer.
“This was my final shot at OFSAA,” the Grade 12 student said, in early December. “I was really happy to go to OFSAA this year because the boys were really close this year.”
The team came together on the court, and it was in part due to the leadership of Hew and his co-captain Lance Du, as well as the trio of brothers, Trent, Cole (Grade 10) and Grade 11 Xander Ketrzynski.
Head coach Steven Kung, along with Imants Koskins, were thrilled by the performance of their charges, especially after their hard work from the beginning of the school year. Though the North Region didn’t provide a strong foundation for competition, the squad opted for tournaments to help hone their skills at the net.
The Titans won two of the four tourneys they entered (Etobicoke and Richmond Hill), finished second their own tournament and the Waterloo Classic in September, in which they faced perennial favourite, St. Michael’s College School.
They would commence their bronze medal path against the Strikers, and win handily, 25-18, 25-17.
“Beating St. Mike’s in our first match at OFSAA felt really good because, at OFSAA, every team is great,” Kung admitted.
York Mills rounded out the robin bracket with a 3-1 record, and bounced fifth seed, Uxbridge SS, from the quarterfinals. Once they made it to the semis, against Mississauga – the eventual gold medal winners – they faced a challenge. Up 2-0 heading into the third set, a lot of errors set them back.
“The thing that we always preach to the guys is the team that makes the least amount of mistakes is going to be the team that came out top,” Kung said. “You can’t win a game with five service and four balls out. That’s nine errors right there.
“Mississauga, granted they were playing really well, making some amazing digs. We were just making too many errors.”
Regardless of the semi-final loss, Kung is looking forward to next season, where the Ketrzynski twins, Trent and Cole, as well as their older brother Xander will bring their club volleyball skills to the team. All three are the progeny of Olympian Alex Ketrzynski, who played for the Canadian volleyball team in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Hew has plenty of faith in the Ketrzynskis bringing a gold medal home for the school in 2017.
“They’re definitely OFSAA contenders next year,” he said. “There are a lot of great players coming up from Grade 10 to support the team.”