The Brock women’s volleyball team rallied behind the support of the home crowd on Friday night. After a tough loss to the University of Waterloo to open the season on Thursday, the Badgers returned home on Friday night to a gym full of fans ready to cheer them on against the Guelph Gryphons.
After a match against Waterloo that head coach Dale Ann Melnick described as “very ugly”, the Badgers regrouped with hopes of finding their first win on Friday at Bob Davis Gym.
Down 10-5 early in the first set, it wasn’t the start that the Badgers wanted in front of their home crowd. The team struggled to make their passes early on, allowing Guelph to gain momentum with their serves. It was a timeout called by Melnick with the score at 21-15 for the Gryphons that shifted momentum back in the Badgers favour.
“We have this thing called control our controllables,” Melnick explained. “Really, that’s just controlling our behaviour, controlling our temperament. Making sure we’re taking care of things like our communication.”
The main focus for the Badgers became taking care of their part of the game, and letting their play speak for itself. Once Brock managed to find their comfort zone and start making plays, the crowd began to get behind the team. With a full gym cheering them on, the Badgers used that to their advantage to build some momentum on route to a 25-23 first set victory. Melnick had nothing but praise for the home fans.
“This was an awesome crowd tonight, the start of the game it was a little quiet, but the fans were amazing. They got so into it, it was very exciting.”
After a strong first set for the Badgers, the Gryphons bounced back with a decisive win in the second set. It started with a 7-1 run for Guelph, and they didn’t look back from there. Guelph carried the lead through the entire set, leading to a convincing 25-17 win.
In the third set, the Badgers answered. It started with an early 3-0 lead, their first lead of the night. After Guelph called a timeout they seemed to find their game again, but it was short lived. The Badgers pulled ahead once again and dominated the third, taking a 25-18 win.
The Badgers had to dig deep in the fourth set. Both teams were playing well, with the score remaining close through the entire set. At one point, the Badgers were down 16-10, but once again, a timeout changed the flow of the game. Brock went on a 10-2 run, taking a 20-18 lead and forcing Guelph to take a timeout, hoping for a momentum swing to go their way. They did manage to tie the score at 23, but that was as close as they’d get before the Badgers won 25-23.
Leading the way for the Badgers were Hannah Davenhill, Laura Condotta and Darby Taylor. While the starters played a big role in this win, Melnick was quick to mention how the everyone on the team was capable of stepping up when they needed to.
“Honestly, we’re twelve people deep, but that tonight was our starting lineup. They know they’re big, they know they hit the balls heavy, they know they can play phenomenal defense.”
Getting their first win of the season this early is a big step for the Badgers, who finished last season with a 5-14 record. As for the expectations this season, Melnick has the team aiming high.
“We’ve been hungry to go to the playoffs and go into the medal round, and we’re not going to settle until that happens.”
The Badgers will continue their quest for a playoff berth on the road this weekend, as they travel to take on Western University on Saturday night, then Windsor on Sunday afternoon.