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St. Francis advances to all-Ontarios

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St. Francis School captured the Region 1 Bantam volleyball crown here Saturday with a 15-9 and 15-13 win over Mine Centre and earned a berth to the all-Ontario showdown.

St. Francis finished the four-team, double round-robin with a 4-2 record to earn a bye into the final. Thomas Aquinas, which finished in second in the round-robin, was upset by Mine Centre in the semi-final in straight games (15-13/15-11).

Whitefish Bay finished the round-robin in fourth place and missed the playoffs.

St. Francis head coach Ron Fryer said his team benefited from a fast start in the first game, which helped them gain confidence in the final match.

“We took a significant lead of about eight points and then the guys never looked back,” he noted late Monday afternoon, adding he’s not sure yet if they will make the trip to the all-Ontarios.

“Mine Centre came into the [match] on an extreme high after beating a very strong Thomas Aquinas team,” Fryer said.

St. Francis built up a six-point lead in the second game, then watched that evaporate as they trailed 13-11. But they fought back to tie the score at 13-13 then, after both teams traded serves, St. Francis scored the final two points to close out the match.

Fryer said this St. Francis team is the first one to advance to the all-Ontarios since he’s coached there. He attributed their success to good team play—and a solid mix of both offensive and defensive players.

“When we’re on our game, we’re a very good team,” he remarked. “We have some very good spikers and the team generally doesn’t gets down.”

In girls’ action, Mine Centre won a thrilling final 2-1 over Whitefish Bay in the best-of-three final. After winning the first game 15-9 on the strength of some solid hitting from Melanie Jones and Jennifer Johnson, Whitefish Bay came back to take the second game 15-12.

But Mine Centre made no mistake in the third and deciding game, dumping Whitefish Bay by a convincing 15-4 score.

Whitefish Bay had advanced to the final with an exciting 15-9, 12-15, and 15-13 win over St. Francis.

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