The Fanshawe Falcons came out on top in a convincing straight-set sweep against the Briercrest Clippers on day one of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) volleyball championship.
Fanshawe entered the tournament as the underdogs, being one of two wildcard teams who got another shot at capturing the title and they did not waste the opportunity.
Falcon’s outside hitter Daniel Ridings said being the wildcard was a main focus in the pregame message.
“Obviously we had a full game plan against these guys, but at the end of the day, we’re so grateful and thankful to be at this level and at this tournament to compete,” he said. “Coach just told us to have fun and play with heart.”
They took that advice and it seemed to work in their favour.
In their first game, they were able to beat the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) champions, the Briercrest Clippers in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20, and 26-24.
The champions were cruising for the majority of the first set but the Falcons were able to find their game and turn the momentum around and steal the opening set.
Ridings said the team’s determination was the key to their success early on.
“We didn’t let any lows or any runs of losses affect us mentally”, he said. “We stayed together as a team, and really picked each other up, and that was just a determining factor”.
Their dominant performance continued throughout the game.
Fanshawe took control of the second set early forcing Briercrest into two quick timeouts.
The Clippers would get the lead down to just one point but were never able to overtake the Falcons, and they were on the way to dropping the second set.
Clippers head coach Nigel Mullen felt like his team was not at its best in this match.
“I just felt like right from the start, we just fell off a little bit. And a match like that, once it gets rolling it’s tough to slow that down,” he said.
And he hopes the next game will be better.
“The message is whenever we get an opportunity to put on that uniform and represent whom we represent, we want to make sure that we are ready to go,” he said. “So, I would expect that this group would put that together.”
The third and final set was a nailbiter until the very end with the Clippers fighting to stay in the match.
The set remained tied up to 24, but finally, Fanshawe closed out the game with the final two points of the match to seal the deal,
Ridings said this win is a recipe for success
“Playing as a team, playing as a group, following our game plan, all of those things just help us play a complete match,” he said.