Badgers remain hopeful for playoffs depsite loss to No. 2 McMaster

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo credit: Mackenzie Gerry

The Brock Badgers men’s volleyball team faced off against McMaster this past Friday in Hamilton looking for revenge in the second game of their back-to-back against the Marauders, after dropping the first game in three sets at home.

The Badgers were a lot more competitive this time around against the country’s second best team, this time managing to win a set. Ultimately, Brock lost the game 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18).

“Overall I thought it was a good battle for our guys,” said Badgers head coach Matt Ragogna.

Brock was led on offence by none other than Logan House, who put up a team leading 10 kills and 13 points, to go along with two blocks, two digs and an ace. Peter Schnabel had a tremendous game hitting at a .571 efficiency with four kills, 10 points and a team leading four blocks. Rookie Nanle Yusuf added eight kills, eight points and five digs, while fellow rookie Grant Reddon led the team in assists with 26, getting his first start at setter since early November. Mark Naqvi led the team with three aces, while adding five kills and nine points. Libero Ethan Kalef led the team in digs with six.

“We had a lot of rookies starting the game and they played a huge role in holding us in at parts of the game,” said Ragogna. “A few guys that got in held on to major roles throughout the sets and [our] middles had a great night at the net.”

Honoured before the game for McMaster’s seniors night, fifth-years Matt Passalent and Nathan Delguidice again led their team to victory. Delguidice racked up game highs 17 kills and 20 points. Passalent showed incredible efficiency, hitting at .565 and added 14 kills, 17 points and seven digs to his team’s winning effort. Even more efficient was first-year middle Wojtek Kraj, hitting at a .625 efficiency with six kills and eight points. Delguidice and Kraj tied for the team lead with two blocks each. Also honoured prior to the game was team captain Craig Ireland and setter David Doty, the latter led Mac with 37 assists and nine digs.

“We passed well and served tough which helped us pull away [in] the third set, but a few runs from McMaster had them creating large gaps early on and in [the] middle of [the] other [sets],” said Ragogna.

With their win the Marauders improve to 12-1 and remain a top the OUA West, as well as the whole league. The Badgers record falls to 5-8 as they sit in fifth place in the OUA West with four games remaining.

“For our guys it was a good push for the final four games coming up, all that have major playoff implications,” said Ragogna.

The Badgers need to jump up to fourth in the West to clinch a playoff berth. The Western Mustangs currently sit in fourth at 6-7, while the Windsor Lancers sit in third at 7-6. Each team has four games remaining and will be jockeying for the last two playoff spots in the west. Western and Windsor will play each other twice and each play Brock and McMaster once. In addition to playing both Western and Windsor, Brock will take on Guelph, who are currently 8-4 and second in the West with five games remaining.

Waterloo, who is currently 3-8 and last in the West with six games remaining, could mathematically catch up to Brock, however they will be taking on the league’s top three teams in McMaster, Toronto and Queen’s, as well as Brock and Guelph. Their only conceivable chance at a win in their final six games is against RMC.

“We are back on the court soon prepping for Waterloo and Guelph next weekend,” said Ragogna.

The Badgers (5-8) will head back to the Bob Davis Gymnasium for their final home game of the season this coming Friday as they take on the Waterloo Warriors (3-8) at 8:00 p.m.

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