The men’s volleyball team got the start to the new year that they were hoping for, taking down the number eight ranked Guelph Gryphons 3-1. After coming out of the winter break with a 1-3 record, the Badgers were in need of a win in their first matchup to get on the right track in the 2017 portion of their season. In the end it was a balanced team effort, with strong performances coming from several key players in Badgers uniforms.
After leading the majority of the first set, Brock allowed the Gryphons to battle back and take the set 25-22. That was all the Badgers would allow Guelph to win however, as they swept the next three sets taking home the 3-1 victory. Timmy Spisar and John Elgersma were terrific for the Badgers. Spisar finished with 16 kills and eight digs, while Elgersma recorded 12 kills. Matthew Ragogna added nine kills and five digs and Marcelo Correa had 38 assists.
The matchup was a preview of what this Badgers team can do. They have showed signs of improvement, as their December matchup against the Gryphons resulted in a 3-1 victory for Guelph. With more game experience, the Badgers should continue to make steady improvements and ultimately compete night in and night out with all of their OUA opponents. With 12 matches remaining, the Badgers still have tough matchups against the McMaster Marauders (6-0), Nipissing Lakers (5-1) and Ryerson Rams (6-3). They must capitalize against weaker teams such as the Windsor Lancers (0-5), whom they play twice, and the Waterloo Warriors (3-4). If they can get big performances out of their key players like they did against the Gryphons, they should have no problem knocking off weaker opponents and moving into a playoff spot.
The women’s volleyball team came into their second half of the season with a 2-4 record, and also took on the Gryphons (4-4) on the road. The Badgers couldn’t overcome a close 25-22 loss in the first set, and ended up losing in straight sets to the Gryphons. Renee Helmer finished with six kills and 11 digs, while Abby Jenkins added seven kills. For the Gryphons, Victoria Golebiowski was phenomenal, finishing with a team high 13 kills and 10 digs. Setter Cayte Wilson had 34 assists.
The Badgers have now lost their fifth straight matchup since winning on back to back nights against Lakehead to open their season. The Badgers need to find consistency from their starters, and get bigger contributions from their rotation players. Without one player that is able to dominate every night and win them sets, they need to find more of a balanced attack from their whole roster. A positive for Brock is that rookie setter Emily Armstrong was impressive yet again, recording 23 assists against Guelph. She currently sits in 15th in the OUA in assists per set with 6.11, but with 32 and 23 assists in her last two matchups respectively, her numbers are only improving.
Brock needs to focus on making improvements in their next two matchups, as they soon face a perfect Western Mustangs (8-0) squad in back to back matchups. If the Badgers are unable to snap their losing streak soon, they might find themselves too far out of a playoff spot with the Mustangs and Marauders leading the way in their division.
Both men and women will travel to Waterloo to take on the Warriors on January 14. The women will play first at 12:00 p.m., followed by the men’s matchup at 2:00 p.m.