It is time for the McMaster women’s volleyball team to find their early-season groove.
Following their gold medal performance at the Thanksgiving Classic in October, the women’s volleyball team started the season undefeated before losing their last two games to the Western Mustangs (9-0) and the Guelph Gryphons (6-4).
Their hot start to the season came as no surprise. Starting the season ranked sixth in the University Sports top ten rankings and a number of fourth and fifth year veterans returning from last year’s campaign, the Marauders made quick work of their opponents, who up to this point in the season have a combined record of 22-36. Winning their first seven games of Ontario University Athletics conference play, the Marauders never gave up more than one set in each game, losing only a total of four sets in that span.
Up to that point, the team looked unstoppable in the OUA West, reaching No. 3 in the U Sports top ten rankings, behind only Alberta (12-0) and the OUA East division leaders Toronto (8-0). Things were looking up for the Marauders, until they suffered their first loss of the season on Nov. 26 to the Mustangs in London in their last game of the fall semester. Even though the Marauders were swept in three sets, the first two sets were decided by a combined seven points, showing that this team on their best day can compete with top level competition.
There are still 10 games left for the Marauders to fine-tune their game and set themselves up for success come postseason play.
Following the winter break, the Marauders travelled to Guelph on Jan. 14 to face the Gryphons, who they had previously defeated in the gold medal game of the Thanksgiving Classic and the opening game of the regular season. Unfortunately for Mac, they were unable to replicate their previous success, losing the match in four sets, the last two of which were decided by two points apiece.
This has the women’s team sitting second in the OUA West division, with a 7-2 record. As of Jan. 17, the team has dropped out of the U Sports top ten rankings entirely.
Their next game takes place on Jan. 21 at 6pm, where the Marauders host the visiting Mustangs, and will look to evenge their first defeat of the season. The next day, the Marauders will welcome the Windsor Lancers (3-5) to Burridge Gym, who currently sit fifth in the OUA West division.
While their start to the winter part of their schedule is not what they hoped for, there are still 10 games left for the Marauders to fine-tune their game and set themselves up for success come postseason play, and a return trip to the OUA Final Four.