Peter Reid | Athletic Staff
It will arguably go down as one of the biggest moments in Redeemer Royals history. Redeemer's Owen Kurvits capped off the greatest season by an individual in school history by winning the National Championship in Men's Singles Badminton, Redeemer's first ever in any sport. Kurvits captured the CCAA gold medal on March 7 in Halifax in a fitting end to the 2014-2015 badminton season.
Redeemer's badminton star defeated Humber's Jesse Assing in a nail-biting 3 set match in the final to capture the historic title. The gold medal finale was a rematch of the OCAA Provincial Championship match as well as the first round robin match of the National Championship. Kurvits defeated Assing in 2 straight in the OCAA gold medal match but fell to the Humber opponent in 3 games in the opening match of the National Championship.
The rubber match proved to be similar to their latest meeting, with Kurvits taking the first game, and Jesse taking the second. This time, however, unlike their previous match, Kurvits grabbed an early lead in the 3rd and never let it go. The set scores were: 21-10, 9-21, and 21-13.
Head Coach Benno Kurvits broke down the match, saying, "Owen played great! He was playing so aggressively and well early on I was getting concerned that he could not keep up that pace. Then mistakes in the second game cost him. It was tight in the 3rd until he was able to start pulling away late. Certainly some tense moments, but he hung in there and fought hard."
The CCAA Gold Medal is the icing on the cake for Kurvits and for Head Coach Benno; Owen finishes the 2014-2015 season having captured almost every major award and title available to him. Provincial Gold, OCAA Player of the Year honors, CCAA All-Canadian honors, and National Gold can all be added to his resume.
After losing the first match of the Championship, Kurvits swept through the competition, winning his next four round robin matches. He followed that up with a straight-sets win over Matthew Chan (PACWEST) in the semi final, and then the 3rd set win against Assing in the Finals.
In just his second year at Redeemer University College, Kurvits has gone from a 4th place finish in 2013-2014 to winning the National Championship in 2014-2015.
The support from Redeemer University College, from Hamilton, and from Kurvits’ friends and family was very evident as seen through a fury of activity on social media. Before, throughout, and following the match, fans took to Facebook and Twitter, offering their best wishes and congratulations to the champion.
The support did not go unnoticed to a very humble Kurvits. After the match, he commented: "to be honest, I'm pretty overwhelmed with the amount of support I received from everyone back home. I know it might sound a bit cliché, but it gave me some extra energy for the finals which was a great feeling and sincerely helped my game."
When asked about the match, Kurvits gave a lot of credit to Assing both in his on-camera interview and in his post-match comments to Redeemer. "I knew it was going to be a great finish to the season playing against my good buddy and rival," said Kurvits. "Second set was a little shaky but I changed my game plan a bit for the 3rd. That proved to be the difference in the match against such a great opponent."
For Head Coach Benno, it is a unique experience, offering support to his son as his coach but also as his father. Benno admittedly and understandably was quite nervous heading into Saturday. "I slept well the first two nights [in Halifax]," mentioned Benno. "But I admit I did not sleep very well the night before the tournament. I woke up very early and had a very difficult time sleeping after that."
It appears evident that the father-son duo is working. One would find it difficult to argue the effectiveness, as the pair of Kurvits bring Redeemer its first National Championship banner and trophy back to Ancaster.
For full National Championship results, visit: http://www.ccaa.ca/schedule-results-s15146