Brock men’s volleyball welcomed the Guelph Gryphons and Waterloo Warriors to the Bob Davis Gymnasium on Nov. 23 and 24, respectively. The Badgers managed to come away with a split of the two matches to go along with the trend of what has been a back-and-forth season to this point.
Brock’s first opponent was the Guelph Gryphons, a program that the Badgers have gone 1-1 against in each of the past two seasons. This time around, it was the Gryphons that came out on top, 3-1. The match certainly seemed to be going in a different direction than what transpired, as the Badgers pounced on the Gryphons early and won the first set 25-15. This was the Badgers’ fourth match in a row where they have won the first set (they would eventually make it five in a row against Waterloo), but they were unable to capitalize on that advantage, dropping the next three sets 25-23, 25-20, 25-22. The Badgers will have the opportunity to continue the pattern of season’s past and split the season series in Guelph on Jan. 31 when the two teams are set to meet again.
Match two for the Badgers came against the OUA West Division basement dwelling Warriors. The Badgers had to take care of business in order to salvage the weekend and they did not disappoint. They took the match 3-1 after making an early 25-16 statement in the first set. They proceeded to drop the second set 25-21, but maintained their composure and closed things out with wins of 25-20 and 25-23 in the third and fourth sets, respectively.
The Badgers have now posted a record of 3-2 over their last five matches following their slow 0-4 start to begin the year. On the season, their overall record sits at 3-6 and they head into the winter break in a tie with Guelph for fourth in the OUA West Division. That being said, Guelph also has three games on Brock with Waterloo trailing the two of them. Historically, the matches before January haven’t been kind to the Brock men’s team, as combined between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 season’s the Badgers are 1-9 in the early months of the season. The Badgers can now look ahead to the second half of their year. With eight games still to play in the regular season, Brock is just two wins shy of their win total from a season ago (5).
In spite of their slow start to the season, a strong second half would have the Badgers in striking distance of their first playoff appearance since before the program was rebooted two seasons ago. The top four from each of the OUA East and West divisions qualify for postseason play, and as mentioned, the Badgers are currently sharing that fourth place position. Their first chance to build on that win total after the break will come against the Western Mustangs (5-3) on Jan. 12. They will follow that up with a match against the Windsor Lancers (7-2) on Jan. 13 with each game slated to start at 3 p.m at the Bob Davis Gym.
The Mustangs and Lancers currently occupy the second and third positions in the OUA West division, so there will certainly be no easing into the second half of the season for the Badgers. In their previous meetings this season, both Western and Windsor defeated Brock 3-0 in their home gym’s, contributing to Brock’s 0-4 start. A win for the Brock men’s volleyball team against one or both of these teams would go a long way to determining how realistic a playoff berth may be.