Over the course of a season, every team faces some sort of adversity. In an undefeated season where they have only lost two sets in the same game once, the McMaster men’s volleyball team knew it was coming sooner rather than later.
Already missing rookie standout Jayson McCarthy heading into the past weekend’s games, the team was forced to play without Jori Mantha as well, fresh off an impressive 22.5-point performance the week prior. Undaunted, subs and regulars alike picked up the slack, propelling the Maroon to yet another weekend sweep.
First on the docket was the winless RMC team. They proved to be a surprisingly pesky opponent, in the end yielding 25-20, 27-25, 23-25, 25-16. Five-year veteran Michael Sjonnesen and rookie Shayne Herbert, who contributed nine and a half points off the bench, filled the holes in Mac’s lineup. Stephen Maar’s 16 kills and Danny Demyanenko’s four service aces fueled the victory.
Sunday brought a stiffer test for McMaster’s tallest, with a visit to fourth place Queen’s. After dropping a tight first set, McMaster ramped their play up to another level, sweeping the next three for a 23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-22 victory. Demyanenko would again step in for his hobbled teammates, putting up 22.5 points – a total that any coach would be happy to receive from two players combined. Herbert would match his total from the previous game, and Alexander Elliot and Stephen Maar would both break a dozen points, leading the Mac attack.
One of the bigger news items of the week came off the court, as the team announced its first recruiting commit for next season. Pawel Jedrzejewski signed on the same day as he was announced as the winner of the Jeff Dickens award as the top all-round student-athlete in the Greater Hamilton Area. Judging by the impact of McMaster`s current crop of rookies, Jedrzejewski can expect to get a long look as libero next year, as the team lacks a full-timer at that position.
The duo of wins means that McMaster has clinched first place overall, with a spotless 17-0 record. They look to become McMaster’s second perfect team of the year next Sunday, with a season finale on the road at York.