The women’s volleyball team took an important step in the right direction with their win over the Windsor Lancers on Friday night. The Badgers were able to put together a strong performance to pull off a five set victory over the team, who they are chasing for the final playoff spot in the West division.
The night got off to a rough start for the Lancers, as their setter Brooke Davis went down early with an injury and was unable to return for the rest of the night. Despite the loss, the Lancers were able to remain close with the Badgers throughout the first set. Brock was able to maintain a slim lead throughout the set until the last few points. With Brock holding a 21-19 lead the Lancers were starting to build some momentum despite trailing the entire set. The pressure they generated proved to be too much for Brock, as Windsor took a 24-23 lead before scoring the final point, taking the first set.
That momentum for Windsor had carried over into the second set and they got off to a quick 4-0 lead. Badgers head coach Dale Melnick took this opportunity to call a timeout to settle her team down before things got too far out of reach and her speech clearly worked. Brock responded by dominating the Lancers and taking a 16-12 lead. Just when things were looking up, Windsor was able to answer right back with a quick run of their own and tied up the score at 18-18. The Badgers were determined, though, and playing some of their best volleyball this season as they worked their way to a 25-22 win.
Both teams were trading points to open the third set, with Windsor holding a slight 16-15 lead by the technical timeout. Neither team was able to pull away, but the Lancers continued to hold their slight edge on the scoreboard. The Badgers made it close, but despite some last ditch efforts they were unable to get ahead. In the end, the Lancers pulled out a 25-23 win to take a 2-1 lead over Brock. The Badgers were looking for ways to come out on the winning side of these close sets but were having difficulty closing things out against this Windsor team.
After finding ways to stay competitive all night, it looked like the Badgers had fallen off to begin the fourth set. Brock found themselves down 12-5 early, but fought back from that early deficit to take a 16-13 lead. For Melnick, she saw her team continue to fight back without showing any signs of fatigue.
“Strength and conditioning wise, we were ready to go another four sets. We weren’t ready to slow down.”
The Badgers hit a bump in the road late in the fourth set as Windsor pulled ahead to take a 23-22 lead. But as Melnick mentioned, the Badgers were not slowing down, and a big block by Emily Armstrong capped off a 25-23 win for Brock to force a fifth set.
Once again, the conditioning of Brock was their biggest advantage down the stretch. While the Badgers looked fresh, there were signs that the Lancers were starting to slow down. Brock took the lead right away and never let it go, as they rolled to a 15-8 victory to take the set and the match.
It was an important win for the Badgers, who snapped their five game losing streak in the process. Melnick mentioned the importance of the victory and the benefits it could provide for the team moving forward.
“It’s been a while since we’ve won, and they needed to go and remember that feeling.”
While the team performance was strong overall, Melnick pointed out Abby Jenkins as a player who had a particularly strong game. Jenkins finished the day with twelve kills and two blocks, but was consistently making plays all game long.
“She was amazing, just amazing. One speed, very hard, very aggressive, she did awesome today.”
The Badgers were hoping to carry their momentum from the win into their game the following night against Guelph. This was something that they had discussed and worked on, but the Gryphons were able to get the better of them on Saturday night. Melnick mentioned that the Badgers had taken a different approach over the last week to help them get back on the right track.
“It’s not an issue of talent, or strength and conditioning. It’s just that fear, so this week we tried to focus on sport psychology a bit more. Sometimes you need a little bit of help when it comes to managing that stress.”
As the playoff race continues to tighten up, Brock will look to get back in the win column again this weekend. They host Ryerson on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. before Trent comes to the Bob Davis Gym on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.