The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Red Hawks senior volleyball team capped their season with a second-place finish at the Central Ontario Secondary Schools Association (COSSA) finals.

The girls team was unable to overcome the now five-time consecutive champion Quinte Christian High School. Quinte took the best-of-five match 3-0, winning their sets by scores of 25-16, 25-18 and 25-11.

Red Hawks co-coach Dan Gimon said they ran up against a better team with stronger serving. But he added there is no shame in how his team played.

“I told the girls they should be proud of how they played,” Gimon said. “They went to double-digits, high double-digits in two of the games.”

Despite multiple rallying efforts, the Red Hawks were unable to overcome an early lead from Quinte Christian in the first set.

The Red Hawks would jump out to a 4-1 lead in the second set but soon found themselves trailing again, with a 21-6 run by Quinte Christian giving them a commanding lead before a timeout. The Red Hawks would rally but a flubbed serve ended the set in Quinte’s favour.

Down 2-0 in sets, the Red Hawks were unable to break through. Quinte opened the third set on a 9-0 run and never gave up the lead.

“It is demoralizing,” Gimon said. “But that’s all a part of the mental thing too. What we’ve been trying to teach them. Yeah, you get behind but you got to get back up again.”

Red Hawks captain and Gimon’s daughter Natalya Gimon is graduating this year and intends to play volleyball in post-secondary. She said the silver medal will be a nice reminder for her going forward.

“We played really well. It was a nice end to high school volleyball for me and the other seniors,” she said.

Coach Gimon credited the team’s success to their hard work and his daughter’s play.

“The commitment was there, I think that’s a big part of it. The girls that came back from last year were all-in,” he said.

The team played well in front of its home crowd, after earning the right to host the COSSA finals, Gimon said.

“It’s good for their self-esteem and their morale,” he said. “To play in front of the home crowd, show off what you have and I think they should be proud.”

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