Though the Brock Badgers lost their OUA quarterfinal match against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, it was a learning experience for those involved. It was the first playoff experience for the men’s volleyball team since the program was rebooted in 2016.
“Our guys got an opportunity to learn how to win and to win in big matches consistently. I’m very proud of how they fought in our first ever playoff game in front of a huge crowd in Toronto,” said head coach, Matt Ragogna.
Toronto took the first and second sets, both 25-18. Brock came back in the third to go up 25-22. The Badgers came close in the fourth but the Blues ultimately took the set with a score of 31-29.
Though they no doubt wanted to win and are disappointed they won’t be moving further into the postseason, they achieved the goal they set for themselves in the beginning.
“Overall our goal this year was to become a playoff team. We accomplished that and set some new program accolades in terms of wins, sets won and overall team percentage to the OUA,” said Ragogna.
The Badgers finished the season with 686 kills, which averages out to 10.89 per set and 102 aces, averaging to 9.98 per set. Their hitting percentage was a solid .217 per cent over the entire season.
In the game against Toronto, Logan House led the team with 15 kills and one ace. Dean Globocki contributed eight kills and one ace. Freshman Nanle Yusuf contributed five kills and Saulius Lianga added three kills and one ace.
“I can only thank the graduating athletes who gave in countless hours and effort to this program and welcome them to our growing alumni base,” said Ragogna.
Ragogna himself knows what it’s like to play volleyball in a Badgers jersey, serving as captain of the very team he now coaches, in 2016-17. Dean Globocki, who is now a senior, played with Ragogna as his captain in his freshman year and finishes his senior year with him as his coach.
Globocki played in 40 sets this year and contributed 74 kills to the team. He finishes his fourth year with a career average 1.36 kills per game. This season was his best however, with an average of 1.85 kills per game.
Mitch Taylor, Marcello Correa and James Parkinson also had successful seasons being coached by their former captain. Ragogna is not looking back, though.
“As we look forward to next season we have a lot of players returning to our roster and the future is bright with our new recruits coming in,” said Ragogna.
The Badgers finished last in the OUA West a season ago and that’s when Brock made the decision to hire Ragogna. It’s thanks to him that the talents of the younger Badgers don’t go to waste.
Logan House finished the season with an average 3.53 kills per set and played in all but one of the Badgers’ games.
“We got a good feel for the competitive depth of the OUA this season and look forward to reaching some new goals this season,” said Ragogna.
A first round exit at the hands of the best team in the OUA, the 17-1 Varsity Blues, is a solid foundation on which Ragogna will continue to build his team.