The 2017-18 OCAA women's volleyball regular season has reached its unofficial halfway mark.
Here's a look at what transpired so far, and what to watch for in the new year.
STATE OF THE CHAMPIONS
Humber is looking to extend its dominance in OCAA women's volleyball beyond the previous decade.
The 10-time reigning OCAA champions are in a familiar spot, with the Humber Hawks having won all nine of their first-half matches, winning all but one in straight sets.
The only match that was too close for comfort for the Hawks was a five-set victory at Mohawk on Nov. 10, when Humber rallied from a two-set deficit to win.
The Humber Hawks are the only undefeated team in women's volleyball, winners of 139 consecutive matches in OCAA regular and post-season competition.
Humber's last regular season loss came on Feb. 13, 2011 in a three-set outcome at Nipissing. Humber's last OCAA playoff loss came on Feb. 24, 2007, ironically a three-set decision against Nipissing.
Humber's 10-peat is the longest string of provincial championships by one program in any OCAA varsity sport.
STATE OF THE HOST
The Centennial Colts are the only team guaranteed a spot at the 2018 OCAA Women's Volleyball Championship presented by belairdirect as tournament host.
The Colts are currently in a three-way tie for third place in the East Division with a record of 6-3. They enter the December break winners of three straight, and five of their last six.
Centennial's home record is 4-2, sporting a similar win percentage on the road.
The most improved team from last season, based on winning percentage, is the Fanshawe Falcons.
The Falcons had a respectable 10-8 record last season, winning the OCAA championship consolation final. Fanshawe has already matched its win total from a season ago, and currently sit in second place in the West Division (its only loss coming against undefeated Humber).
Fanshawe has lost the third fewest sets this season behind Humber and Loyalist (both first-place teams).
JUST THE STATS
Third-year outside hitter Sara Piana Yafu (Ottawa) of the Loyalist Lancers once again leads the OCAA in points per set averaging 5.5, over one point better than her closest rival. This is better than her career average, as averaged 5.2 and 5.0 points per set in her first two OCAA seasons, respectively.
Piana Yafu also has the most total kills among all OCAA players with 149, part of her 177 total offensive points. Loyalist teammate Christine Madogo (Ottawa), a second-year middle, leads all OCAA players with 32 blocks (averaging a block per set).
Second-year setter Amanda Kuiper (Woodstock) of the Mohawk Mountaineers leads all OCAA players with 28 service aces, averaging 0.88 per set. She also averages 8.59 assists per set, tops in the OCAA.
NEW POST-SEASON FORMAT
The OCAA is offering more post-season play in 2017-18, with the top seven teams in each division (not including the championship host) advancing to the crossover round.
Match-ups will be based on seeding, with the top seeds in each of the divisions squaring off against the bottom seeds in the opposite division. The second-best teams will take on the second-worst, and so on. The higher seed will host.
Here is a look at potential crossover match-ups:
Fleming (2-6) at Fanshawe (10-1)
Mohawk (5-4) at Loyalist (8-1)
Canadore (3-6) at Humber (9-0)
Cambrian (3-7) at Algonquin (8-1)
Sheridan (5-4) at Georgian (6-3)
Seneca (4-4) at Niagara (6-2)
Durham (6-3) at St. Clair (6-3)
Championship Bye: Centennial (6-3)
CURRENT PROVINCIAL RANKINGS
1. Humber Hawks (4th CCAA)
2. Fanshawe Falcons (14th CCAA)
3. Niagara Knights (15th CCAA)
4. St. Clair Saints
5. Loyalist Lancers
6. Algonquin Thunder
7. Sheridan Bruins
8. Mohawk Mountaineers
9. Centennial Colts
10. Georgian Grizzlies
- OCAA -
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