The Brock Badgers men’s volleyball team have turned things around. After dropping their last four games, the team won their two games this past weekend to bring them to a 4-5 record at the winter break.
“Overall I think it was a full team effort to see us compete well across the board in two full matches this weekend,” said head coach Matt Ragogna. “We only slipped a few times in small stretches, but for the most part executed at a much more comfortable percentage and were able to utilize everyone on the court to their strengths.”
On Friday, the team travelled to Waterloo to take on the Warriors. They took the game in four sets (25-18, 25-18, 23-25, 25-16) to end their four game losing skid.
Mark Naqvi returned from injury to play his first game of the season and made sure his presence was felt. He was tied for the team lead in points with 13.5, while adding 10 kills and a team leading .571 hitting percentage.
“Mark is a unique player. His combination of skill and athleticism forces his opponents to stay on him in the middle and gives our outside attackers a lot more one on one opportunities,” said Ragogna. “It was great to have him back this weekend as I know he was itching to get back on court the past month from injury. He’s put in the work and refined such little things in his game that allow him to put balls away more effectively and with power.”
Logan House also had 13.5 points and 10 kills, while rookie Sauli Lianga added 13 points and a team leading 11 kills and seven digs. Setter Marcelo Muniz Correa contributed with 43 assists and two kills of his own in the win.
Returning home to the Bob Davis Gym on Saturday, the Badgers faced off with the Guelph Gryphons. Brock cruised through the game, sweeping Guelph in three sets (25-21, 25-23, 25-17).
House led the team with 12 points and 12 kills on a .474 hitting percentage. Rookie Nanle Yusuf continued his strong season with nine points on four kills, while leading the team with ten digs. Lianga chipped in eight kills and eight and a half points on a .353 hitting percentage. Correa had 24 assists and another two kills.
The Badgers were able to avoid a deep slump heading into the break and gained some momentum for the second half of the season.
“The West is such a tough division right now with how deep and experienced rosters are. Any division match means just as much as you are stealing games and setting the tone for final weeks to be crucial stretches. Being able to beat two division opponents heading into the break brought us back up into the standings where we are still in the playoff hunt,” said Ragogna.
Next up for the Badgers is an exhibition match against the No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans at Bob Davis Gym on January 2 at 6:00 p.m.