By Larry Moko
It was a busy but productive opening day for the Bishop Tonnos Titans.
Tonnos travelled to Barrie Monday where it won three matches at the OFSAA girls’ AAA high school volleyball championship. And by doing so, the Titans qualified for Tuesday’s quarter-final playoff round.
Tonnos was among those teams in the field of 20 scheduled to take the court for three matches to begin the tournament. The rest had just two on Day 1.
“I’m very happy with the way we played,” Tonnos coach Alvisia Maga said. “We talked at the beginning of the day that it was up to them (the players). It was their turn to set the tempo and really decide if it was going to be something they wanted to push to see how great they can be.”
Champions of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league and the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference, the Titans kicked off the provincial competition by topping Kingston’s Frontenac Falcons, 2-0, Sudbury’s Confederation Chargers, 2-1, and Kitchener’s Grand River Renegades, 2-0.
The final pool-play contest for the eighth-seeded Titans is against the 19th-seeded St. Peter’s Panthers of Barrie.
According to Maga, Tonnos’ cleanest game of the three – with the fewest unforced errors – was against the No. 3 Grand River squad.
“We kept our composure and our poise,” she said. “(Grand River) is a very good team, but we were so calm. We didn’t seem to be concerned at all that it was a back-and-forth game. We were well-controlled.”
Key was Tonnos’ ability to handle Renegades’ U-19 Team Canada member, Megan Hawkins.
“(Hawkins) is a great player,” Maga said. “She serves very strong, is a heavy hitter and is smart.
“She’ll hit shots around our block but also is able to score with strength. Surprisingly, we were able to hold her points to five, which is great against a standout player like that.”
The scores against Grand River were 25-16 and 25-18.
Earlier, the Ancaster-based Titans got past the 14th-seeded Falcons, 25-9, 25-19.
Against Confederation – seeded No. 9 – Tonnos dropped the opening set, 18-25, before rallying for 25-19 and 15-9 decisions.
“It took a while to find their defensive openings.”
Maga said outside hitter Abby Smith was solid on defence and offence for the Titans.
“Abby really stood out in the last game. She had some great passes and went on a lot of serving runs where she would go five or six in a row.”
Smith, incidentally, announced on the weekend that she has accepted a full Division I beach volleyball scholarship from Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.
Semifinals and finals for OFSAA will be held Wednesday.
“We were good with our eighth seed,” Maga said. “It’s kind of like being in the middle of the pack so there is not a lot of external outside expectations.”