Hawks volleyball seeking national gold at home

Mar 7, 2023 | Campus News, Headlines, Sports

The Humber Hawks men’s volleyball team is set to face Dragons de Sainte-Anne Wednesday as they host the 2023 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship.

Once again, they are heading into upcoming tournament as Ontario’s top team.

On Feb. 25, the Hawks defeated the Fanshawe Falcons in their own backyard to be crowned OCAA provincial champions for the third-consecutive season.

The Hawks had a shaky start to the season with many unexpected losses, yet they managed to lock in once again as soon as their champion status required defending.

“I give all the accolades to the guys. They’ve worked hard all year, they knew that the pressure was on,” head coach Wayne Wilkins said.

The former Humber grad is in his 27th year as head coach and holds the record for longest head coach in Humber history.

His teams have achieved provincial glory six times and won CCAA gold in 2012.

“I’m as confident as I was back then (2012). Every time we get to a national championship, I remind the guys that it’s a whole new season.”

Since 2012, Humber men’s volleyball have placed on the podium twice at the national tournament, coming ever so close to gold in 2020 when they lost in the finals.

This time out, Humber will be able to call their home court the grand stage of the tournament.

“When you have an opportunity to sleep in your bed, have your fans, your family, and your friends all coming to watch you on your home court where you play all the time, It’s a huge advantage,” Wilkins said.

“It’s more excitement instead of pressure,” fourth-year outside hitter, Jaydon Milne said. “Things like this don’t often happen in life, and for us, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to play on the biggest stage at home, and doing it in front of everybody that we love.”

Although Milne says the OCAA is no easy place to compete, he believes the CCAA is a completely different animal and says there’s a reason it’s more difficult to succeed in.

“When you get to the CCAA, it’s the best of the best at that point. Everyone’s bigger, stronger, more athletic, and smarter because they’re all winners,” Milne said.

For Milne, this will be his final year representing the Hawks, and he said that even though he has been spoiled with success during his tenure, nothing could eclipse the feeling of becoming a national champion.

Milne said his team is ready for the challenge.

“Our mindset going into this is to just leave it all out there, show a lot of heart and put on a show.”

The Hawks will begin their quest for gold in the quarterfinals tomorrow at 5:30 p.m..