Photo By: Stephen Leithwood

After their historic OUA championship last weekend, Brock’s women’s volleyball team headed west for the U Sports national championship tournament in Calgary, Alberta. 

After dropping their quarter-final match to the Mount Royal Cougars, Brock defeated the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday afternoon in the consolation semifinal. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues ultimately put the Badgers’ season to rest, trumping Brock 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 28-26, 25-12) in a tightly contested consolation final match. 

The number two seeded Badgers entered championship weekend with their sights set on the first national title in program history. First on the docket was a battle with the seventh-seeded Mount Royal Cougars on Friday afternoon. Mount Royal, the Calgary-based school, finished third in the Canada West playoffs. 

Brock’s first nationals experience didn’t quite go as planned. The Badgers committed 24 errors en route to a 3-0 (20-25, 14-25, 21-25) loss. Despite being eliminated from title contention, there were still some bright spots for the Badgers. Brock battled hard in the first set, and kept pace with the Cougars until late in the set. A late run in the third set also demonstrated the Badgers’ resiliency with their backs against the wall.

Outside hitters Sadie Dick and Emily Foest led the way with seven kills each, while setter Sara Rohr racked up 26 assists. Libero Aleiah Torres tallied 11 digs, while second-year right side Gigi Markotic was named player of the match for the Badgers. 

A consolation semifinal matchup with the AUS champion Dalhousie Tigers was next on the schedule for Brock. Looking to keep their season alive, the Badgers looked much more like themselves, grabbing a 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-21) win on Saturday afternoon.

After dropping the first set, the Badgers clawed back to post three consecutive impressive set wins. Dick and Foest once again led the way with 15 kills each, while left side Madison Chimienti added 14 of her own. Torres and Chimienti both ended up with double-digit digs, and Rohr posted yet another 40-assist effort. Foest was named player of the match as Brock advanced to Sunday’s consolation final. 

A familiar opponent awaited the Badgers on Saturday afternoon: the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, whom the Badgers trumped in the OUA final last week. The Badgers’ first set looked similar to their dominant effort in the provincial championship match, as they grabbed an impressive 25-17 first set win. 

The Badgers fought to the bitter end, including a thrilling 26-28 third set loss, but ultimately fell short of the win. Chimienti led the team in kills with 14, while Rohr posted 42 assists. Brock ultimately finished in sixth place amongst the eight tournament teams. 

Though the season has come to an end, Brock’s women’s volleyball team was a titan of the sport all season long. They finished the year with a 17-2 record overall, losing just the two games this weekend. 

There is a lot to be excited about for the future of this team. Although all graduating seniors will be sorely missed, many of Brock’s top players will return to the lineup for the 2022-23 season. In just his third year as head coach, Steve Delaney has built the Badgers into a force to be reckoned with and they will surely contend for provincial and national championships in the years to come.