The Brock men’s volleyball team picked up a split this past weekend, finally ending a losing skid that had stretched across five games. The first of two weekend matches came on February 9 against the York Lions, who were battling it out for the final playoff spot in the OUA East division. Their desperation showed as the Lions put on a strong performance and defeated the Badgers 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-21).
“We’ve played well at times but we did not play well against York and that was kind of disappointing, they were certainly a beatable team. They’re in the fourth playoff spot [in the east division],” said Brock head coach Doug Hanes.
The Badgers have already been eliminated from the playoffs, so it could be said that they have now taken on the role of “spoiler” in their remaining matches. Hanes doesn’t necessarily see it that way though and is approaching the situation from a different standpoint.
“People look at it that way but because we’re a new program I’m looking at the development side of the whole thing. For example, I started a player today that doesn’t play often just to get him into a meaningful match,” said Hanes.
Whether the Badgers want to be considered spoilers or not, they certainly played the role when Nipissing came to town on Feb. 10. The Badgers defeated the Lakers 3-1 after dropping the first set (20-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-20).
“Nipissing was playing to catch York so that’s probably put Nipissing out of the playoff picture,” said Hanes.
This win brought the Badgers season record to 4-11 and marked their first win since their final match of the fall semester back on November 24 against Waterloo. With just two matches left on their regular season schedule, the Badgers are one win shy of their total of five from last season. In spite of the team’s struggles over all, Hanes maintains that there is still a greater importance in every game they play, such as reaching certain program milestones.
“When you’re this new – for instance, this was the first time we’ve ever beaten Nippissing – so you just have to keep at it. Now over the course of three years we’ve beaten probably eight or nine different teams,” said Hanes.
“We would like to finish ahead of Waterloo in the standings as a visual advancement as a program. In our first year we were last in our division with three wins, the second year we were better and got five wins.”
The team now has a chance to match their win total from a season ago against those same Waterloo Warriors they beat earlier in the season. The Warriors are 6-8, but should the Badgers pick up a win against the Warriors, that still keeps the possibility open for them to move out of the OUA West division’s basement. The match takes place at Waterloo on Feb. 15.
As for the team’s contributions off the court, prior to the match against Nippissing, the Badgers showed support for another charity, which has become a common theme for the year. This time, they showed their support for the Huntington’s Disease Association.
“The Huntington’s disease association for Niagara has used volleyball as a means of fundraising. So it’s been a good thing,” said Hanes.
“We’ve also tried to support the Wounded Warriors association and at the end of the season we also send the boys to the blood donor clinic. There’s great value in introducing these young men to doing some good charitable work.”
The Badgers have one remaining home game on their schedule, as the McMaster Marauders will visit the Bob Davis Gymnasium on Feb. 22 at 8:00 p.m. to conclude Brock’s season.