Brock women’s volleyball remained in action over Reading Week as they put the finishing touches on their regular season schedule against the McMaster Marauders. Since it was the final home game of the season, the team honoured their senior players who will be moving on at season’s end. Julia Balatbat, Tori Carroll, Hannah Davenhill, Darby Taylor and Jen Todd were those honoured; but somewhat unique to the Badgers program this season, there are still games to be played as they clinched the third playoff seed in the OUA west division.
“It felt so good to take the win against McMaster, especially on the night that we celebrated all of our Seniors,” said Carroll. “Mac is one of our rival teams and I am so proud of how we pulled together with a full team effort win,.”
The Badgers’ effort got them a 3-1 result (26-24, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21) which improved their record to 13-6. This turned out to be a critical loss for the Marauders, as they ended their season in a tie with Windsor for fourth place in the division, but lost out on the final playoff spot due to the head-to-head tie-breaker.
While the Marauders season is over, the Badgers are far from done. Carroll did, however, find the time to reflect on the season to date as well as her career with the program.
“As I come to the end of my volleyball career as a Badger I am extremely grateful for all this sport has given me,” she said. “I have developed lifelong friendships that I will cherish forever. Our team has developed and grown immensely this year and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of such a successful season thus far,.”
The Badgers will hope to carry their success into a matchup against the 14-5 University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The Blues are the number two seed in the OUA East division and due to the crossover playoff format, are facing off against Brock for just the second time this season. The teams met last October in Toronto and the Blues came away with a 3-1 victory. The Badgers don’t seem to be worried about this though, as they’re confident in their improvements as a team since then.
“At this point in the season confidence is a huge part in how we perform, I personally feel confident in our team because we’ve all worked so hard to get here and aren’t ready for the season to be over anytime soon,” said Brock’s Laura Condotta. “When it comes down to it, I have no doubts that we can beat U of T, we just need to prepare ourselves for the fight and the rest will come.”
It’s going to be quite a battle when the Badgers head to Toronto for the quarterfinal match as both teams demonstrated they are amongst the most dominant programs in the OUA. Down the stretch, Brock managed to finish the season off on an 8-1 run, while the Blues closed by winning six straight games.
“I’m really excited for it. For us to win we need to go out there with a positive mindset and play hard for each point,” said Condotta.
As for Carroll, this opportunity to return to the playoffs comes full circle as she is the only remaining member of the Badgers that was on the team when the program last made an appearance back in the 2014-15 season.
“As a team we are eager and excited for playoffs. We are hungry for some playoff action,” said Carroll. “We are working harder than ever right now to prepare for the challenges ahead and I believe that we have what it takes to go all the way.”
The first challenge in what’s ahead for the Brock Women’s volleyball team comes on March 2 in Toronto as they kickoff their quest for the OUA Quigley Cup championship.