By: Alexandra Reilly
The McMaster women’s volleyball team had another busy weekend, playing a double-header on Nov. 16 and 17. Both games saw the Marauders take on the competition with home court advantage, which proved to make a difference for the women in both of their matches.
McMaster began with a battle against the visiting Guelph Gryphons. Right from the start, the women took control and it was evident they were not leaving any room for error.
The Marauders came out strong, combining many diverse angles of attack, which included kills from a variety of players along with strong defense at the net to help maintain the lead. McMaster gained a remarkable 16-4 lead over Guelph and continued to pummel the Gryphons, eventually winning the first set 25-11.
The second set was another easy battle for the Marauder squad as Guelph head coach called two time outs before the technical timeout. The Marauders jumped on Guelph once again, taking the second set with a wide margin of 25-9.
After two of their best sets this season behind them, it was important for the women to maintain their focus. Their momentum was slightly slowed in the third set as they allowed the Gryphons to take a 16-14 lead.
The Gryphons continued to gain a lead, moving the score up to 22-18. After some back and forth from both teams and a close score throughout, Guelph eventually propelled to take the third set 30-28 over the Marauders.
Moving into the fourth set it was important for the Marauders to not allow Guelph back into the game. They picked up their intensity once again and found their focus, jumping ahead 9-1. At the technical timeout, Mac found themselves dominating the match with a 16-6 lead. McMaster would continue to put pressure on the Gryphons and come out as the winners of the set, and the game, with a score of 25-16.
McMaster’s Kierstyn Bakker played her first game as a Marauder after transferring from the University of Manitoba, which is ranked third in the country for volleyball. She was also the McDonald’s Big Mac player of them game.
Despite McMaster’s full team effort to pull out the win seeing stand out plays from Taylor Brisebois and Amanda Weldon, Mac also lost Alicia Jack in the match to a broken thumb. Head Coach Tim Louks still is not sure of the details or extent of Jack’s injury, but described it as a “fluke.”
After a much-needed win at home against Guelph, the Marauders re-grouped for their Sunday match in Burridge Gym against the Waterloo Warriors.
McMaster got off to a much slower start than in their previous dominating efforts against Waterloo. The first set saw McMaster make a few errors early on, which allowed the Warriors to jump slightly ahead with a 13-10 lead. With an incredible effort from McMaster’s Shannon McRobert, the Marauders were able to pull ahead of the Warriors with a 19-13 lead.
Waterloo tried to recover, but with strong blocks and a good defensive effort the Marauders were able to take the first set 25-19.
The Marauders continued to struggle slightly in the second set as some small errors put Mac slightly behind right from the get go. Poor passing and good blocks from the Warriors proved to be the deciding factor for the second set. Waterloo was able to take advantage of the Marauders’ slow start and took the set 25-16.
The third set once again saw the Marauders fall behind early on, allowing the Warriors to take an early 13-8 lead. The Marauders soon picked up the pace, nailing all of their serves to come back and gain the lead 14-13. The Marauders soon gained a higher lead at 16-14 and continued to outscore the Warriors 9-1 to close out the final set 25-15 and bring themselves to a 2-1 lead in the game.
Waterloo was determined to extend the match and gain a win in the fourth set against the Marauders. The Warriors took another early lead as they quickly jumped to 7-2 over the Marauders. The service line proved to be a hot spot during this game for the Marauder squad as McMaster served to an 8-7 lead. McMaster maintained focus and raised the pace of the game by gaining a 16-13 lead going into the technical timeout. Shannon McRobert continued to be a difference maker in this match by extending the Marauders lead eventually helping Mac to pull out a win in the fourth set 25-20 to take the game three sets to one.
After the Marauders much-needed double-header win at home, Head Coach Tim Louks was satisfied with the weekend performance.
“The players are competing harder in practice and creating some more consistencies,” said Louks. “That coupled with reducing some of the unforced errors and taking care of the ball generally will start to shape things from a performance point of view.”
The women’s volleyball team is set to take on Brock this Saturday, and being that this is the only action the Marauders will see with the Badgers this season, it’s important that the Marauders dominate early on in order to get a much needed win. The game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday in Burridge Gym.