After earning their first win of the season last weekend against Guelph, the men’s volleyball team utilized that momentum on their way to an upset victory over the Ryerson Rams on Friday night.
The Rams entered the matchup tied for first place in the OUA East division, but it was the Badgers who looked like a top team early on.
“They didn’t play their starting setter, and after the first set they must’ve thought it was a fluke because they left him on the bench to start the second set too,” head coach Doug Hanes said about potentially overlooking the Badgers.
Hanes also noted that Ryerson was not the only team to underestimate them this year.
“Because we’re still this new group the expectations are lower as far as what everyone else thinks we can do.”
This season has been a challenge, with many of the younger players still adjusting to the quality of play at the OUA level. Brock started their season with a nine game losing streak, but after a five set win over the Gryphons, they seem to be turning their season around.
“The win, in particular because it was a five set match and Guelph had four match points, for us to be able to come back from those and win it in the end with such a young group gave [us] a lot of confidence.”
The Badgers caught Ryerson off guard early and took advantage of their opportunities to take a quick 4-0 lead forcing a timeout from Ryerson, but the energy from the team and the fans could not be slowed down. The Badgers refused to let up and continued building on their lead. Ryerson tried one more time to stop the Badgers’ momentum with a timeout late in the set, but an ace by Peter Schnabel closed out the first set for a 25-15 Brock win.
The Badgers were playing well, but they also had luck on their side throughout the game. The best example is from the second set, when the Badgers hit a ball through the rafters of Bob Davis Gym before scoring the point on that rally. It was another strong set, pulling ahead of Ryerson and never looking back. At the end, it was Schnabel once again who was able to give the Badgers a 25-18 win with one of his twelve kills on the day.
With the Badgers on the verge of pulling off the upset, Ryerson was forced to make some changes to their lineup. After struggling through the first two sets, the Rams looked to come alive in the third and fourth. While neither team was able to pull ahead in the third, it was the Rams who came away with a slight 25-22 win in the third set, before rolling to a 25-18 win in the fourth.
With momentum shifting away from the home team, the Rams were able to continue their strong play into the early part of the fifth set. Down 4-1 early, Hanes was forced to call a timeout to get his team back on track.
“In a situation like that because the set is so short, if you fall behind by three you have to call it early. We were only down 4-1 and so few points had happened that you stop their momentum before it really gets going,” said Hanes.
The Badgers, momentum did not stop after the win against Ryerson. They returned to Bob Davis Gym on Sunday afternoon to face off against a winless Trent team. While Trent is in the exact situation Brock was in themselves just over a week ago, the Badgers coasted through this match for a straight sets win, bringing their record to 3-9. The win marked the first time since the 1999-2000 season that Brock won a match 3-0, also the first time since that season they have gone 2-0. It took a while, but with this recent hot streak the Badgers are looking to prove that this streak no fluke.
Brock heads on the road for their next four games of the season, before returning back to Bob Davis Gym for their regular season finale on February 18 at 3:00 p.m.