It wasn’t the way it was supposed to go. The talent on the Brock Women’s Volleyball team was there, but the Badgers struggled to find ways to bring that talent together. With the 2015-16 season over, the Badgers end with a 2-17 record.
Prior to the start of the season, head coach Dale Ann Melnick believed this team could compete. Not just at the OUA, Melnick believed she had the skill of a team that could go up against anyone in the CIS. Off the court this was a tight group of women, but on the court the talent struggled to mesh.
Midway through the season, the Badgers showed some life of turning the season around but could not do so. The last time Brock Women’s Volleyball had more wins in a season than losses was back in 2011-12 when they went 10-8 in conference play.
The 2015-16 OUA schedule was also a little unfair to the Badgers. Nine of the Badgers first 12 games were played away from St. Catharines. In fact, from the span of Nov. 7 to Nov. 27, the Badgers traveled to Thunder Bay, Toronto, Ottawa and London – basically they got to see all of Ontario in just one month.
Opening the season against top teams Ryerson, Windsor and McMaster, the Badgers struggled to win just one set. Their first set victory came in the fourth game of the season when they fell 3-1 to Waterloo. Their first victory of the season came in the fifth game of the season when they beat Lakehead 3-1.
However, from there the Badgers went onto losing nine straight games before a victory over Royal Military College. Six of the Badgers final seven games were played at Brock, but they would end the season on a four game losing streak.
Fourth year libero Karlinna O’Leary was one bright spot for the Badgers as she continued to show why she is one of the best at her position in the OUA. O’Leary finished the season with 267 digs, which was third in the OUA.
Maddie Brown led the team in kills with 89, Brianna Hamilton had an impressive 88 kills and Abby Jenkins finished the season with 80. Hannah Davenhill, Alexis Gregorio and Annika Naylor were strong setters for the Badgers they finished with 153, 137 and 129 assists, respectively.
As a team the Badgers struggled as they only averaged 8.12 kills per set, which was the worst in the OUA. They also only averaged 12.4 digs per set, which hurt them defensively.
This season the Badgers had seven first year players, including Davenhill and Alanna Norris, an athlete who has a lot of potential to lead the Badgers in the future.
The season might be over for the Brock Women’s Volleyball team, and their record speaks for itself. However, a successful off-season can turn things around for the Badgers next season. Again, the skill and talent on the roster is there. It’s now about finding a way to bring that skill together so it works as one and leads to more victories.