The Lakeside 18U boys volleyball team capped off their season by earning a Bronze Medal at the National Championships in Saskatoon this past weekend.
Lakeside entered the weekend optimistic they would finish higher than their disappointing quarter-final exit at the Ontario Championships in April.
Finishing 5-1 after 2 days of competition, championship Sunday started by defeating the Manitoba champions 204 in the quarter final. This led to an all-Ontario semi-final vs rival Pakmen from Mississauga. Both teams had split their previous encounters during the season and this match lived up to the hype with Pakmen taking the first set, Lakeside winning the second and Pakmen prevailing with a 15-11 third set victory. The disappointment of the loss did not have time to linger as Lakeside had to quickly prepare for a bronze medal match with highly ranked FOG from Edmonton. After dropping the first set 29-27, Lakeside bounced back to win the next two sets to finish their season third in Canada.
"It is satisfying to know that the only two losses in our 7-2 record were to the two teams that finished ahead of us in the tournament, silver medalists Pakmen and tournament champions Force from British Columbia." said Head Coach Howie Grossinger.
Talented middle hitter Bennett Swan was named a tournament All-Star.
Extra special for this group of young men was that early in the season there was uncertainty whether many of these athletes would even have a team to play for. However, talented and dedicated athletes and coaches from Markham, Richmond Hill, Maple, Mississauga and St. Catherine's were added to a nucleus of 6 loyal and skilled Lakeside athletes who started together in 15U to make this a most memorable season. Highlights include team building at Camp Walden and a 2nd place finish in San Francisco at a USAV event in January.
Many of Lakeside's athletes will be moving on to play university volleyball in the fall and 6 members of the team; Bennett Swan, Zane Grossinger, Ryan Scott, Julian Krygel, Brady Fidler and Deman Dulat will be attending the final Team Ontario selection camp this weekend at McMaster University. Athletes selected will represent Ontario at this summers Canada Games in Winnipeg.
Supported by an outstanding group of parents, these young men had a fantastic season that they will long remember.