The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Red Hawks seniors boys volleyball team is in its first-year and building for the future – but believes success can come before season’s end.

The single-A team had its first home games Oct. 8, losing two best-of-three matches in straight sets to higher-ranked AAA I.E. Weldon Secondary School (IEW) and single-A St. Thomas Aquinas (STA).

But the games do not count toward any standings until the end of the season when HHSS will attempt to battle for a spot at the Central Ontario Secondary Schools Association (COSSA) championships. Head coach Brett Caputo said he believes the team can make it.

“We’re young, so we’re a year behind everybody age-wise,” Caputo said. “Within the single-A schools, we’re competitive and just the little things are going to make a difference”

The team kept things close in its home games, losing sets 25-22 and 25-17 to St. Thomas. STA is one of the schools HHSS will be competing against to reach COSSA and Caputo said he liked how his team played them.

“We’re right there,” Caputo said. “St. Thomas has a leg up right now but we played with them.”

The team fell into a 15-1 hole against IEW in its first set against them before battling back to lose 25-15. They ended the match with a closer 25-18 loss.

“To make that big comeback in the first game … it was impressive,” Caputo said.

The team will work to limit its errors in the games ahead, as well as increasing its aggressiveness, the coach said.

But he added the group, which has been together for three years, is fun to work with.

“It’s nice to see them progress and improve as we go through.”

Liam Little is a fifth-year student playing competitively for the first time after it was unavailable for his senior years.

Despite the team’s inexperience, Little said he thinks the team can make it to COSSA.

“There’s definitely room for improvement,” Little said. “But we’re definitely looking good so far.”

To reach COSSA, they will have to finish top-2 in a three-team bracket against St. Thomas and Kenner Collegiate Vocational Institute, who they defeated earlier this season. Their seeding tournament is Oct. 22, with the Kawartha Championships Oct. 29.

“A lot of schools don’t expect us to be competitive,” Caputo said. “We are competitive and we’re getting better and we’re coming after them.”

mes Oct. 8, losing two best-of-three matches in straight sets to higher-ranked AAA I.E. Weldon Secondary School (IEW) and single-A St. Thomas Aquinas (STA).

But the games do not count toward any standings until the end of the season when HHSS will battle for a spot at the Central Ontario Secondary Schools Association (COSSA) championships. Head coach Brett Caputo said he believes the team can make it.

“We’re young, so we’re a year behind everybody age-wise,” Caputo said. “Within the single-A schools, we’re competitive and just the little things are going to make a difference.”

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