The No. 7 Brock Badgers women’s volleyball team extended their win streak this past weekend to four games, with wins against the No. 10 Waterloo Warriors and Guelph Gryphons.
“It was a crazy weekend for us,” said Badgers head coach Steve Delaney. “We had to play Waterloo on Friday, that’s a big game because they’re right behind us in the standings and a top-10 team in the country.”
The game Friday night was the team’s last regular season home game. The Badgers honoured their graduating students — reigning OUA West MVP Laura Condotta, 2018-19 All-Star Darby Taylor and outside hitter Morgan Monkman — for their contributions to the program.
The Badgers swept the Warriors in three sets. The first set went by smoothly with the Badgers taking it 25-17. In the second set, the Badgers absolutely obliterated the Warriors 25-7. In the third, Brock controlled the set until they hit 20 points, a late surge by Waterloo almost forced a fourth set but the Badgers were able to string together some points before that could happen, taking the set 25-22.
“It was seniors night, so there was a lot of emotion and stuff around that. The girls handled it really well,” said Delaney. “We were able to start Morgan Monkman in that match and she had a fantastic match and ended up being our player of the game on Friday night.”
Condotta hit at a .370 efficiency while leading the team with 14.5 points and 14 kills. Taylor added 10 points and nine kills. Setter Sara Rohr led the team with 28 assists and tied for the team lead, with Monkman, in aces with four. Monkman also added 9.5 points and four kills. First-year libero Aleiah Torres led the team with nine digs.
On Saturday, the team travelled to Guelph to take on the Gryphons in what would be a very stressful game.
“Another team that’s kind of battling us for position in the West,” said Delaney.
Before dropping the first set 25-20, first-year Sam Casey went down with a knee injury, forcing her to leave the game.
“We lost Sam to a knee injury, which we don’t know what it is yet, we’re waiting for her to see the doctor [Monday] but it was bad enough to keep her out of the rest of the match and we’ll probably lose her for a little bit in the future here, the question is whether it’ll be for the remainder of the season or whether we might get her back in time for playoffs, we’re not sure at this point,” said Delaney.
The Badgers came back strong in the second set, battling to the wire to take the set 26-24. Guelph won the third set 25-16, to go up 2-1. A frightful scene in the fourth set as Grace Pyatt suffered a severe asthma attack and was rushed to the hospital. With Pyatt on their minds the team fought hard, winning 27-25 to force a fifth and final set.
“That had a huge effect on us mentally, some of the girls were almost in tears at that point, but the girls did a really good job of staying composed and handling their emotions well,” said Delaney.
The Badgers capped off their eventful night by winning the fifth set 15-13, to take the game.
“We fought hard and we were actually down 9-3 in the fifth set,” said Delaney. “I couldn’t be prouder as a coach, just the way the girls gutted it out and started playing. At that point it was just all courage and playing free and we’ve been working on that so it was fun to see it happen in a key pressure situation like that.”
Brock improves their record to 12-3, sitting atop the OUA West.
“That puts us in the playoffs, we still have some work to do, to work towards hosting a playoff game and we still have four tough matches, but they’re all on the road, so we have to get really good playing on the road here down the stretch,” said Delaney. “I’m really happy with the girls and what we did this weekend.”
Torres absolutely stole the show, putting on a defensive clinic, as she put up a game high 26 digs.
“Aleiah was fantastic both nights, but especially against Guelph, she was just insane. There were rallies where she would pick up three balls in a row, just completely changing the momentum in our favour,” said Delaney of his rookie libero. “It’s great to see that from her, that’s the girl I recruited, making game changing digs like that. I think she’s just starting to find her feet here and starting to be able to read the opposing hitters now. It’s great for us if she gets hot moving into our playoff run.”
On offence, Condotta and Taylor, again, led the team. They both scored a team high 18 points and 15 kills. Taylor had 16 digs, while also being tied with Pyatt and Christina Jovetic for the team lead in blocks with three. Condotta also led the team in aces with three, while Jovetic hit eight kills and scored 13 points. Emily Armstrong got her first start in four games, leading the team with 31 assists. Grace Edwards racked up 10 points, 10 kills and 13 digs off the bench and Pyatt put up six kills and nine points before leaving the game.
The Badgers will travel to Thunder Bay this coming weekend to take on the 2-15 Lakehead Thunderwolves in a double header. Both games start at 2:00 p.m. on in the CJ Sanders Fieldhouse.