After the Men’s Volleyball team took down the Trent Excalibur in their first game in 16 years, they were ready for a major test that would really give them a firm understanding of where their team fits into the OUA competition. They travelled to McMaster on November 18 to take on the number two ranked Marauders (3-0) on their home court. The Marauders have been known for the past few years to be one of the toughest teams to play against, so the Badgers could really make a name for themselves if they gave them a run for their money.
The first set didn’t go as planned for the Badgers as they made several errors that gave their tough competition easy points. The first serve of the game ended in an error for Marcelo Correa. McMaster would jump out to a quick 5-0 lead before Brandon Koppers would make a service error giving Brock their first point of the night. McMaster would come back strong, getting kill after kill and piling on the points. They would end up with an outstanding 13 kills in the first half en route to a 25-11 win in set one.
After a couple of Marauder errors at the beginning of the second set, the Badgers would find themselves on top for the first time of the night with a 2-1 lead. Brock battled extremely tough in the second set, with the score going back and forth for the entirety of the set. With the score at 19-18 for McMaster, they would pull away scoring four straight points, the longest point streak of the entire set. With the score now at 23-19, Brock would win the majority of the remaining points but it was too late to make a comeback as McMaster secured the second set 25-22. Although the Badgers found themselves on the losing end of another set, they played much better and showed the Marauders that the team has what it takes to be competitive.
Going into set number three, Brock needed a win to shift momentum in their direction and further prove their competitiveness. The set was once again back and forth, however after McMaster got out to a 4-1 lead, Brock would spend a majority of the set trying to gain back the momentum and keep it. The Badgers would battle back and once again the set was extremely tight, with the score deadlocked at 16 at one point. McMaster would finish off the Badgers with four more kills in the last nine points, ultimately ending the night with a 25-21 set three win. McMaster defeated the Badgers 3-0, but Brock did their part in proving to the other teams in the OUA that they are ready to begin competing with the top teams right out of the gate.
Correa led the Badgers with six kills and 14 assists. Captain Matt Ragogna didn’t perform well as he managed to only record one kill with six errors in the loss. After recording 14 kills and five digs against Trent in the first match, Ragogna has shown that he will be a major force for the Badgers in the future. For the Marauders, Koppers finished with nine kills and a couple of service aces while setter Andrew Richards had 28 assists.
The Women also took on the Marauders after picking up two victories over Lakehead to start the season, and then a loss to Trent in their third game. Their McMaster opponents were no small task either, as the team was ranked fourth in the country.
Brock got off to a hot start as they put their opponents on their heels immediately, jumping out to a 9-8 lead. They let the lead slip however, letting McMaster swing the momentum and score eight of the next 10 points, capped by an impressive run of kills by Joanna Jedrzejewska. Brock couldn’t regain their mojo that gave them an early lead, as McMaster would soar the rest of the way to a 25-16 win in set one.
The next set would be easily the highlight of the night as the teams went back and forth until the very end. The set seemed to be destined for another Badger loss as McMaster jumped out to an 8-1 lead, with a majority of the points coming from Brock errors. After being down 16-6, Brock would go on an impressive run recording eight of the next 12 points. They weren’t ready to give up despite being on the brink of losing, as they scored five points in a row and eight of the last 10 points. They couldn’t quite complete the comeback as they would drop the final set 25-23.
After winning a majority of the points towards the end of the second set, Brock looked to bring the advantage into the third set, a do-or-die for them. It was much different this time, as McMaster wouldn’t even have to worry about a comeback, taking down the Badgers 25-14 and winning the game 3-0.
Maddie Brown was impressive in the loss for the Badgers, recording seven kills, and a couple of assists and digs. First year setter Emily Armstrong would finish with 11 assists. For McMaster, Jedrzejewska would finish with a team high 13 kills and nine digs.
With the men falling to 1-1, and the women falling to 2-2, both teams will look to get back above .500 with victories against the Guelph Gryphons on Nov. 25. The matches are important for Brock, as it’ll be the first home opener for the men’s team since 2000. The women will begin play at 6:00 p.m. and then men will follow up with their game at 8:00 p.m.