Brock women’s volleyball extended their impressive win streak this past weekend and in the process, clinched a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The 12-5 Badgers have won seven straight, solidifying their case as being the fiercest competition team in the OUA. To add some perspective, this is the longest win streak the Badgers women’s program has had in the last 10 years, as a five game win streak back in 2010 is the only one that comes close. They hadn’t even recorded seven total wins in a season since that playoff year in 2014-15 when they finished 8-11.
According to head coach Steve Delaney, a lot of this turn around can be attributed to a team-wide change in mindset, which has been an ongoing theme this season.
“I think one of the good things is that we didn’t say that we had a goal of the playoffs; we had a statement saying we’re going to be in the playoffs, and when you make a statement you have to back it up. That was key for us,” said Delaney.
“I knew that they were a playoff team in July when I first met them it was just ‘can we get the pieces together to make it happen?’ and we were fortunate enough to do that.”
The first match of the weekend took place on February 9 against the York Lions. It was the first meeting of the season for these two teams, and the Badgers came out on top 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 25-17). Technically, this win had clinched the playoffs for the Badgers but Delaney didn’t want to let his team in on that information quite yet. So, prior to their match against Nipissing, he sent the message that this was the one to win.
“It’s better for your team dynamic to win instead of have other teams [clinch] it for you. We set the goal knowing that winning this game would put us in the playoffs,” said Delaney.
And win they did, as the Badgers made quick work of the Lakers with a 3-0 thrashing, by a score of 25-17, 25-11, 25-14.
This moved the Badgers to their current record of 12-5 and has them sitting in second place in the OUA West division. In spite of the clinch, there’s still meaningful volleyball to be played.
“We still have two big matches in league play and they’re going to have implications to where we finish. We can finish anywhere from fourth to second,” said Delaney.
The first of those two matches come against the top team in the division and fourth ranked nationally, Waterloo Warriors. The 14-1 Warriors recently dropped their first game of the season, so they are indeed beatable. This matchup on the road could prove to be a good measuring stick for the Badgers in determining where they stand entering postseason play.
“They kind of have nothing to lose because they’re not going to finish anywhere worse than first,” said Delaney. “It’ll be a good match; we’re two good teams that’ll probably play pretty free and it should be some good volleyball.”
Lately, good volleyball has been a common trend for the Badgers, and it’s an encouraging sign that this run has taken place at this point of the season.
“You want to be peaking at the right time, we’re on a good swing with momentum but right now I have to figure what can I actually spend time on to improve,” said Delaney. “Because we’re not going to jump higher, we’re not going to grow…so there’ll be some things I’ll be looking at as well as looking at the other teams.”
Following the match against Waterloo on Feb. 15, it’ll be a week until the Badgers close up their regular season schedule on home court against the McMaster Marauders on Feb. 22. While it may still be the regular season on paper, that playoff mindset has been present within the Badgers team for a while now.
“We’ve been treating every game we’ve played the last several games like the playoffs so that we’re ready when we get there,” said Delaney.
The Badgers certainly look ready, and now with a playoff berth officially in their grasp, the countdown begins building towards the opportunity for the Badgers to make another statement.