Though the score was lopsided, it didn’t reflect the effort of the Brock men’s volleyball team as they played host to nationally ranked McMaster.
It was a game that a young Badgers team was not expected to win. The first set showed that when this team is playing well they’re capable of hanging with some of the best in the country. McMaster came into the game with a 4-1 record and ranked 10th in U Sports, while the Badgers entered 0-4 in search of their first win of the season.
Both teams started strong, bringing lots of energy to the court. To the surprise of many, the Badgers found themselves up 9-5 early. McMaster seemed to have underestimated what to expect from Brock. But after calling a timeout, the Marauders found their game again, quickly pulling the score even at 9-9. The set went back and forth, as neither team was able to build any sort of lead as they traded points until the technical timeout. Both teams continued to trade points throughout the rest of the set, with the score eventually reaching 25-24 for the Marauders. With the set on the line, head coach Doug Hanes called a timeout for his team to regain composure, but McMaster came back and finished the set 26-24.
Despite dropping the first set, it seemed like the Badgers believed that they were capable of competing with an experienced team. Things changed in the second set. The Marauders took an early lead and refused to let up, jumping out to a 7-4 lead before Brock called a timeout. The closest the Badgers would get after this was 23-18, but it was too little, too late for Brock as McMaster closed out the set with two straight points.
It was in this set where the youth and inexperience of the Badgers began to show. Whether it was a lack of communication on the court, or adjustments that needed to be made to their positioning, the Badgers game began to fall apart. While the Badgers began to fall apart, the veteran Marauders players showed why they are regarded as one of the top teams in the country.
The third set is one that the Badgers would like to forget, losing by a score of 25-10. While it may be disappointing for the Badgers to have lost the game 3-0, they can still find some positives from the match. The biggest being that they were able to compete with a team regarded as one of the best with their strong first set.
For the younger players on the Badgers, this game served as a chance to see what they need to do to become a top team. This was the case for first year player Logan House, who is already adjusting to the level of play the OUA has to offer.
“It was cool for me to see really how high the talent level in the OUA is,” said House. “For me, it isn’t really about the stats, it’s been more learning how to hit on these big guys, where to position myself on defence. This year has been a learning process for me.”
In just the second season for this men’s volleyball program, the expectations are still low, with the focus on building for the future. House is one of the players that looks to be a big part of what is to come for Brock volleyball. In the meantime, he is working to learn the game and make the adjustments needed to match up with opponents.
“The blocks are so much bigger now,” said House about the biggest difference he has had to get used to playing at the university level. “I’m not used to having all of these guys being able to jump so high and block so well.”
The Badgers are looking for their first win of the season, and will get their next opportunity to do so on November 26 against a University of Toronto team sitting at 2-2 on their season.