Badgers drop season-opening matches

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The Brock Badgers men’s volleyball program kicked off its third season this past week since it’s nearly two-decade-long hiatus came to an end. The team is looking to continue its upward trajectory as a new varsity program at Brock.

As a fresh addition to an established Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league, it’s to be expected that a team would experience growing pains. The Badgers felt this in the form of 3-14 and 5-12 records in their first two seasons of play. Head Coach Doug Hanes has been a constant for a team that has experienced a great deal of change in its infancy; the Badgers welcomed Ethan Kalef, Mark Naqvi, Nathan Jager, Clay Blanchette and Jason Yeung as part of their group of new faces this season.

A bright spot for the Badgers last season was the emergence of first-year player Logan House. House took home OUA honours as the Rookie of the Year and will enter this year as a major piece of the Badgers’ puzzle. Marcello Correa and Peter Schnabel also earned accolades a season ago, as they both found themselves on the OUA’s Second All-Star team. Schnabel and House were also selected for the OUA All-Rookie team. House, Correa and Schnabel provide a solid foundation for the Badgers in their quest to improve on their win total once again.

In 2017-18 the Badgers opened their season losing nine consecutive games in a season of streaks. Following that 0-9 start, they won five straight matches and then followed that up with three consecutive losses to end the season.

The Badgers opened their 2018/2019 season with a pair of games last Wednesday and Saturday with hopes of starting things off on a better note than the year prior.

The first match presented a test against the team that sat atop of the OUA East division a season ago — the Ryerson Rams. At Mattamy Athletic Centre, the Badgers were unable to keep up with Ryerson, as they fell 3-0 (26-24, 26-24, 25-17) in a match where Correa, House, Kalef, Navqvi and Schnabel were joined by Dean Globocki in the starting lineup.

Brock’s second match came against another opponent from the East Division — the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Once again, the Badgers seemed to find themselves on the wrong side of close games as they were defeated 3-1 by scores of 25-22, 17-25, 25-22 and 25-22.

Despite starting out slowly with a 0-2 record, it’s not for a lack of effort. The Badgers have left little doubt as to whether or not they will be competitive or not. It’s the early goings of the year and they are finding themselves in close games. With growth throughout a season they are showing that they have the potential to find themselves on the positive side of the outcomes.

Brock’s season continues with matches once again on the road against the Western Mustangs and Windsor Lancers this week. Like the women’s team, the men’s volleyball team find themselves still in search of their first win, but Western and Windsor haven’t been friendly to the Badgers’ men as they have never managed to beat either program in the past two seasons of play.

You can see the first home action from Brock men’s volleyball when they return home for a matchup against Royal Military College on Nov. 9. The Badgers have never lost to RMC, so it presents an opportunity to open the home schedule on a positive note in a season where positive results hope to be seen more frequently.

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