The transition towards the winter sports season has begun and with that comes another season of Badgers volleyball. There was certainly no easing into this season, as the Brock women’s volleyball team opened up their festivities this past week with a pair of tough tests on the road. Brock faced off against two of the top teams from a season ago — the defending national champion Ryerson Rams, who went a perfect 19-0 in league play, and the Toronto Varsity Blues, who finished just behind Ryerson at the top of the OUA East Division standings.
The Badgers entered this year on the opposite side of the spectrum in comparison to their first two opponents. It was a rough season in 2017-2018, as the team finished with a record of 6-13, which had them tied in the basement of the OUA West Division, marking another year that ended falling short of the playoffs. The last time they qualified was the 2014-2015 season. With this being the reality, it was clear some sort of change was needed and the program acted accordingly by hiring former professional and Canadian national beach volleyball player, Steve Delaney, as the team’s new head coach.
The Badgers posted a 1-2 record during preseason competition as they picked up a win against Nipissing and dropped matches to Lakehead and Ryerson. The Ryerson preseason match ended 3-0, and Delaney’s team was in tough once again against the Rams in their first regular season match. This time, the Badgers fell 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18).
The Badgers started Jen Todd, Grace Edwards, Emily Armstrong, Laura Condotta, Grace Pyatt and Tori Carroll in the match. Condotta, in particular, was very effective for the Badgers in the losing effort, compiling a match-high 28 kills. The next highest mark was 12 for Ryerson’s Teanna Vernon and Lauren Veltman.
Their second game of the season resulted in more of the same, as the Badgers were defeated by the Toronto Varsity Blues 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14). Once again, Condotta led the team in kills, recording 15 this time, but it wasn’t enough.
It’s a slow start for a team that is seeking some positivity, but there is certainly still time to turn things around with much of their 19 game schedule still ahead of them. What the Badgers don’t have early on though, is home court advantage. Having played these past two games on the road, they have another pair of road games directly ahead at Windsor on Nov. 3 and at Western on Nov. 4. Last season, Brock had a combined record of 2-2 against those two teams. Once again, it’s early, but you would think a split for the Badgers has to be the minimum result so they can avoid falling into a difficult 0-4 hole.
The comfort of the Bob Davis Gym won’t be available to the Badgers until Nov. 9 when Royal Military College visits for the first of four November home games for Brock.