The Brock women’s volleyball team entered this past weekend on a three game winning streak. The weekend also marked the final home stand of 2018 as the Badgers are due for an extended break heading into the new year.
The Badgers’ first test came on November 23 against a Guelph Gryphons team that entered play on a four game winning streak of their own.
Impressively, the Badgers defeated the Gryphons 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 29-27) and in the process leapfrogged Guelph in the OUA West division. Badgers head coach Steve Delaney spoke of the importance of the win over Guelph and as it turns out, this result could potentially have an impact come season’s end.
“This is four wins in a row for us, so, that win tonight is big for us because if we’re to take another set off of them this season in their gym it gives us the advantage in the tiebreaker. So 3-0 is a great win, but it’s also a statement win for us,” said Delaney.
Even though it was a 3-0 match, it seemed much more evenly matched as the two teams were engaged in high energy, tense competition from the outset.
“It didn’t feel like it wasn’t close. I know it was 3-0, but like it was back and forth and I think what the difference was is we executed a little better down the stretch than they did,” said Delaney.
A boost for the Badgers in this match came by fifth year player Tori Carroll being inserted into the lineup for the first time this season.
“It’s huge, she’s a leader, she’s our only fifth year player. She adds another offensive component for us in the middle, which is great. Plus the girls want to see her do well, so any time you have a leader who can come in and give your team a boost it’s almost like every point she gets is worth two,” said Delaney.
The Badgers continued their weekend on the second night of a back to back against the undefeated, sixth-ranked nationally, Waterloo Warriors on Nov. 24. The Badgers came in as an underdog against a national power, but they got off to a quick start and seized control of the match, taking the first set 25-19. The Warriors answered back with wins of 25-19 and 25-15, but Brock managed to force a fifth and deciding set after winning the fourth 25-18. The Warriors proved to be too much to handle in the end, taking the fifth set 15-10 and winning the match 3-2.
This loss brought an end to the Badgers’ four game winning streak and marks their first loss since Nov. 4 at Western. Despite the loss, it was another statement effort as the Badgers hung in tight competition with arguably the strongest women’s volleyball program in the OUA. As a result, Delaney and the Badgers aren’t dwelling on their position. In fact, they’re pretty comfortable with how things have transpired at this point.
“We’re in a really cool situation that every win is a big win. If you’re the defending national champions you almost have more pressure on yourself because you’re supposed to win those games,” said Delaney. “So we’re fortunate right now because people kind of take us for granted…and then every win we go get it’s just another rung up the ladder that we’re climbing. So we’re fortunate to be in that position.”
The Badgers have a record of 5-4 and sit in a tie with Western for second place in the OUA West Division. They conclude the unofficial first half the season with a winning record for the first time since the 2011 season, where they were also 5-4.
The next Brock Badgers action takes place on Jan. 12 at 1:00 p.m. at home against the Western Mustangs, determining who will seize control of second place in the division. If the season to this point hasn’t been any indication on what to suspect out of this team, Delaney summed things up pretty clearly.
“We’re playing to win. We play every game to win.”