Raiders, Titans rise to the occasion

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From the time Delhi District Secondary School grad Kerry Gillispie stepped foot on campus as a teacher, she had one goal in mind when it came to Raider athletics.
“Since the time I got to Delhi in 2010 it has been a dream to bring the love of volleyball back to the school,” she said.
Mission accomplished.
Gillispie was a member of the Raider senior boys coaching staff that brought a Norfolk title back to the school in 2015 after a 24-year drought and on Thursday, Gillispie led the senior girls to their first NSSAA title since 2006-07.
After losing hold of home-court advantage to Holy Trinity in the final regular season contest of the year, Delhi got the ultimate revenge on the Titans with a 3-1 (25-19, 27-26, 18-25, 25-14) victory in Simcoe.
“We had some struggles the past couple weeks with snow days and missing a bunch of practices but we rallied together,” Gillispie said. “We knew what we were looking for this game and we worked on that at lunch (earlier) today because that was our only gym time. After being beat by them on Friday we knew that we would have a tough battle and we wanted to rise to the occasion.”
The Raiders – a team led by the likes of veterans Inge Hoogenboom, Josie Hall, Ashley Spain, and Gemma Ladosz – did just that.
“I was six years old when we last got that (trophy)?” an astonished Hall asked after the contest. “That means so much to me, it’s been so many years since we had that.”
Hall said the key to Delhi’s victory came with a positive attitude and working together as one. It helped that Lisa Driedger did yeoman’s work playing libero for the first time in her career.
When the last point was awarded, Delhi celebrated like a team that hasn’t been to the top of the mountain in over ten years.
“It’s just so exciting because you know you’ve won that medal, you’re going to CWOSSA,” said Hall. “It means the world to me.”
The DDSS squad will head to Walkerton for the single-A Central West Tournament. It takes place on Thursday.
“We’re still focusing on positivity, sticking together as a team and working together,” Hall said.


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Holy Trinity’s Abby Springham, Sophia Monture, Elianna Sartor, Kristen Kramer and Jessica Allard celebrate their NSSAA junior volleyball final win over Valley Heights Thursday.JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer
Holy Trinity’s Abby Springham, Sophia Monture, Elianna Sartor, Kristen Kramer and Jessica Allard celebrate their NSSAA junior volleyball final win over Valley Heights Thursday.JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

There wasn’t much to choose from between the Holy Trinity junior Titans and Valley Heights Bears all season long, and Thursday’s final was no different.
Both squads finished the regular campaign with identical 7-1 records but it was the Titans – playing on their home court – that had a little more gas in the tank.
Led by star hitter Abby Springham, HT erased an early deficit to register a 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-17) victory.
“It was so exciting,” Springham said. “It’s my last year as a junior so I was like ‘I want to win and I want to have fun’. It’s a great group of girls too, so I was glad that we could win together.”
Things didn’t look good for the Titans as the Bears – powered by a raucous crowd representing west Norfolk – got out to an early advantage.
Holy Trinity eeked out the next two sets though, and after bursting out to a 7-3 lead in the fourth, never looked back.
Fittingly, Springham went to the service line with her team needing just three points to secure NSSAA gold.
“Just get it over at first,” she said of her thought process. “My last (serve), I thought to try and hit it pretty hard but at first ‘just get it over and try your best’.”
Springham and the Titans will move on to the CWOSSA double-A tournament in Simcoe next week. The team, Springham said, will look to continue with constant communication.
“I think keeping our communication up is a big (goal) because not that we get down, but we want to make sure we’re always positive and making sure every point we’re coming together and really excited,” she added.
The Bears will move on to the CWOSSA single-A tournament in Walkerton Feb. 21.
Coaches and fans on hand lauded both the Bears and Titans for their technically sound level of play. Much of that praise is a result of several members competing alongside each other with the Simcoe Xtreme.
“There’s a lot of club players,” Springham noted. “The skill as a whole was high, I thought.”.

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