It may be a new year but the same season continues for both of the Brock University volleyball programs as the men’s and women’s teams continue their schedule this upcoming weekend. Each of the Badger squads have completed the first nine games of their season but find themselves within fairly different circumstances entering play in 2019. Here’s a look ahead at what is to come for each team.
The Badgers entered the holiday break having completed a stretch that saw them win four of their previous five matches, with their only loss coming against the undefeated and nationally ranked Waterloo Warriors. This streak brought them up to an overall record of 5-4 following a slow start out of the gate. Despite that start, the Badgers now find themselves in as good of a position as they could’ve hoped as they chase a playoff spot. The women’s team sits in a tie for third place in the OUA West division with the Western Mustangs, while 5-3 McMaster and 4-4 Guelph sandwich the two 5-4 teams. With 7-0 Waterloo creating some separation at the top of the division standings, it appears there will be a four team race for the final three West division playoff berths, and Brock has a chance to seize one for themselves for the first time since 2014-15.
A lot can change with 10 regular season matches still remaining in their season, but seven of their remaining 10 matches take place at home in the Bob Davis Gym. This could allow the Badgers the opportunity to take advantage of home court in a big way. Their first stretch of home games begins this weekend against the aforementioned Western Mustangs in an important match between the two tied teams. This match takes place on January 12 at 2 p.m. and is this first half of a back to back for the weekend. The second half is a match against the 3-6 Windsor Lancers taking place at 1 p.m. on January 13. The Badgers had polar opposite results against these two teams earlier in the season, losing 3-0 to Western and winning 3-0 against Windsor, so it’ll be interesting to get a reading on the progression of the teams over the course of the season, to this point, this weekend.
Unlike the women’s team, despite having also played nine games, the men’s team has just eight regular season games remaining on their schedule. The Badgers find themselves in a tough position. They have a record of 3-6 and find themselves on the outside looking in when considering the playoff picture. While the Badgers sit in fifth place, fourth placed Guelph has a 3-3 record with an obvious amount of additional games to be played in comparison to Brock. This isn’t ideal, so the Badgers are going to need to string some wins together if they’d like a shot at the playoffs. Fortunately for them, they have the luxury of five of their final eight games taking place at home. When assessing the remainder of their schedule, the Badgers next three games come up against the top three teams in their division, presenting a very steep test. The Badgers have the opportunity to send a message but simply having competitive matches against these tough opponents could go a long way for this young team. It all starts up again on January 12 at 4 p.m. versus Western (6-3) and then at 3 p.m. on January 13 Windsor (7-2) will come to town to face Brock.