Men’s volleyball splits home-opening weekend

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Brock men’s volleyball returned home to the Bob Davis Gymnasium this past weekend: seeking their first win of the young season. The 0-4 Badgers couldn’t get back to the comfort of their own home fast enough as a road-heavy front end to their schedule caused them some trouble the past two weeks.

On Friday night, Brock welcomed the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins for their home-opening match. At this game, the two teams honoured the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that supports Canada’s members of the armed forces who are ill or injured. The two teams wore commemorative warm-up shirts with the logo of the charity displayed on the front. Julian Chapman, father of Brock Badger player Chris Chapman, spoke at the game. The senior Chapman is a military veteran that has ties to the charity.

As for the match itself, the Badgers entered knowing that they had never lost in their previous matches against RMC, and the confidence that comes along with that was on full display as the Badgers rolled to a 3-0 victory (25-18, 25-17, 25-16). Logan House led the way for the Badgers with a team-high of 15 kills.

Saturday presented a much more difficult task for the Badgers, but there was hope that the momentum carried from Friday’s game could direct them towards another victory. Standing in their way on Saturday night were the Queen’s Gaels. Queen’s posed a major threat as they entered the day at the top of the OUA East division standings and not only that, they were fresh off of a shocking upset victory over the McMaster Marauders the night before, 3-2 (25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-27, 15-13). The Marauders were the fourth-ranked team in U Sports in the most recent national top 10 rankings.

The Badgers didn’t appear fazed by this early on as they got off to the perfect start against the Gaels. They took the first two sets with relative ease, impressively controlling play and dominating at the net. They took the first set 25-19 and the second 25-17. It was then when the script flipped quickly on the Badgers. With their backs against the wall and the energized fans and Badgers bench against them, Queen’s rallied to steal the control away from Brock. The third and fourth sets went 25-17 and 25-20 in favour of Queen’s and they showed why they were able to take down one of the nations best about 24 hours prior to this match.

The momentum had completely shifted, and even though the match was forced to a fifth and deciding set, there was a sense that there was no way Queen’s was going to lose the match. Brock’s confidence appeared shot and the Gaels took care of business in the fifth set, 15-8, stealing what would’ve been a massive victory for the Badgers.

It’s a painful end to an otherwise positive home-opening weekend. A plus for the Badgers was the return of Clayton Blanchette from injury, Blanchette played a big role in the match against Queen’s contributing 12 of the Badgers 62 total points — second only to House’s 16.5.

The Badgers have opened their season slowly at 1-4, but if Saturday’s effort showed anything it’s that this team can hang with the top clubs in the OUA.

After three consecutive weeks with a pair of games on their schedule, the Badgers have a light schedule this week with just one match on the road against Trent for them this Sunday. Brock has won each of their two meetings versus Trent since 2016-17 so there is certainly an opportunity for the Badgers to get back in the win column in short order. Brock’s next home games take place on November 23 and 24 against the Guelph Gryphons and Waterloo Warriors.

 

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