The Brock Badgers men’s volleyball team split their final regular season weekend with games against the Windsor Lancers and Western Mustangs, clinching their first ever playoff appearance since the program’s reincarnation four seasons ago.
“Overall this weekend we knew going in had major implications; not just for the season, but for the overall program that was built four years ago and what some of our athletes had to grow and persevere through,” said Badgers head coach Matt Ragogna.
On Friday, the team took on the Lancers in Windsor, losing the game in straight sets (25-18, 25-15, 25-23).
Logan House led the team on offence with game highs 15 points and 14 kills, no other Badger recorded more than eight points and five kills, while setter Grant Reddon led the team with 18 assists. On the defensive side of the ball, Nanle Yusuf and Ethan Kalef led the team with seven digs each.
It was a bit more of a balanced team effort for the Lancers’ offence, as Brad Gyemi put up 11 points with seven kills, Pierce Johnson had 11.5 points with 10 kills and Sean Spencer contributed 12 points with nine kills. Setter Noah Langley led the team with eight digs and 29 assists.
“Although Friday night was tough against a very well disciplined and coached Lancer squad, the major focus turned quickly to a win and [our] situation with Western on their senior night,” said Ragogna.
On Saturday, the Badgers travelled to London looking for a win to clinch a playoff berth and that is exactly what they did with a (25-22, 25-17, 25-20) sweep against Western.
House again led in points with 13 and kills with 12, while adding eight digs. Peter Schnabel contributed another 10 points and 10 kills for the Badgers’ offence. Kalef led the team in digs once again with 10 and setter Marcelo Correa led the team with 35 assists.
On Western’s side, they were led by Evan Cranshaw, he put up 10 points with nine kills. Nathan Phelps led the Mustangs with nine digs, while Josiah Esau led the team in assists with 12.
With the win, the Badgers tied the Mustangs for fourth in the OUA West with a 7-10 record and 14 points, however with the Badgers winning both regular season games against Western, they got the tiebreaker and thus the final playoff spot.
“It was a huge moment for all of us to get a chance to make playoffs and we did not let that opportunity slip away,” said Ragogna. “Our leaders were our leaders, our go to guys were our go to guys and our role players were huge in the success on Saturday night. I know they have worked hard this season to reach our regular season goal and now we get a chance to look ahead even further.
The Badgers are set to face off against the No. 7 Toronto Varsity Blues in the quarterfinals this coming Saturday in Toronto’s Goldring Centre. The Blues finished first in the OUA with a 17-1 record, their only loss coming against the No. 2 McMaster Marauders.
“Toronto will obviously be a tough match up for us but we are comfortable with the level we are playing at right now. We’ll be back in the gym this week prepping for the quarterfinal with a bigger goal in mind and the lockdown mentality we had prepping for our final regular season game,” said Ragogna. “I’m looking forward to the experience ahead.”