After a tough loss to the seventh ranked Ryerson Rams on Friday night, the Badgers looked to regroup for their game against the Trent Excalibur on Sunday. They gave the Rams one of their biggest challenges all season, but ultimately came up short losing 25-22, 25-23 and 25-15.
Trent has struggled all season, entering the game on Sunday with a 0-10 record. While other teams may not have prepared as well for a meeting against a winless team, Badgers coach Dale Melnick made sure that her team did not overlook Trent.
“We treated them no differently with our game tape or our discussions. We gave the players a little bit more ownership with individualized game tape rather than as a team so they really had to watch.”
The Badgers looked to learn from the mistakes they made last weekend. After beating the Windsor Lancers in five sets, they travelled to Guelph and got off to a slow start en route to a 3-1 loss. Despite Trent’s record, the Badgers were determined to make sure they didn’t make the same mistakes they did a week ago.
Trent was able to give the Badgers a bit of a scare by keeping the set close early on. Around the midway point is when the gap between the two teams started to show. However, it may have been some of that additional ownership that Melnick and the coaching staff put on the players this week that ended up paying off. With nobody to blame but themselves, the added pressure looked to give the players the motivation they needed to stay in the game mentally.
After taking a 2-0 lead, Melnick looked to the bench to get some more players involved while giving the starters a rest. Even with the usual starters on the bench the Badgers did not show any signs of slowing down, something that Melnick has said of her team in the past. The third set proved this to be true, as the Badgers went on to win 25-16, the largest point differential of the entire match. With every game becoming important for the Badgers, Melnick made sure to respect the skill of their opponent despite what a 0-10 record says about the team.
“We couldn’t take them for granted, so that’s why I stayed with the lineups as long as I did. It’s the OUA and anything happens, as you can see all the time.”
To give Trent credit, they put up a fight early, which forced Melnick to stick with her starters for longer than she expected to. But in the end, things went exactly according to plan for the Badgers.
“I wanted to make the change a little bit sooner and give a couple of girls some more playing time, but in the OUA anything happens. Against Guelph we didn’t play well, so I was making sure that we were in a safe spot first.”
The Gryphons are now ahead of Brock and tied with Waterloo for the fourth and final playoff spot. Currently sitting on the outside of the playoff picture with seven games remaining this year, Melnick and the Badgers are looking at every game as a must win moving forward.
“Queen’s, RMC, York, Nipissing, Waterloo, and both against Lakehead, they’re all must wins. It’s hard to say just one or two, they’re all must wins because we’re trying to get ready for playoffs so we have to get in a rhythm.”
The last month of the season could prove to be difficult for the Badgers as they play on the road for six of their last seven games, with the only remaining home game on February 18 against Waterloo.
Sunday was also the last day of the Badgers for Breast Cancer weekend. As part of the weekend, Brock teams helped to raise $3,300 for the Canadian Cancer Society, but two members of the women’s volleyball team decided to go a step further. Following the first set, Renee Helmer and Grace Edwards were two of four Brock athletes who decided to cut their hair to donate it to the Canadian Cancer Society.