A dominant McMaster men’s volleyball team enters the winter break flying high.
As the fall portion of this gruelling season comes to a close, 2016/2017 seems to be no different. At the time of writing, McMaster is ranked no. 2 in the University Sports Top 10, entering the break with a perfect record of 6-0.
For the men’s volleyball team, a group that have won the Ontario University Athletics championships four years running and were last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sports Championship runners-up, success has come to be expected.
What is fascinating about this team is that while their record may look to be a perfect beginning to this season, there is a drive to do more, to be better and to never settle.
“We know we are capable of more and the trap is settling, and I don’t want to settle for being good enough. If you are capable of more, then reset your standards and let’s do more,” said head coach Dave Preston.
This is a statement that has been reaffirmed on a regular basis by Preston, one of a team that is building something, but by no means done.
McMaster enters December with three strong victories against a variety of competition. They completed an up and down performance against a new U Sports competitor from Brock University on Nov 18. It finished with a straight sets victory, but each set presented a new array of challenges for McMaster.
Over this past weekend, McMaster knocked off Waterloo in straight sets at home on Nov 25. This was a solid victory, considering McMaster was fighting from behind for most of the first set. They also beat Western in London, 3-1, losing only their first set of the season.
These victories were against two of the most difficult opponents McMaster faced this fall, as Waterloo and Western presenting strong, veteran squads.
We know we are capable of more and the trap is settling, and i don’t want to settle for being good enough.
McMaster men’s volleyball
“Waterloo might be one of the most physical teams in the country. They are absolutely massive,” explained Preston. Waterloo boasts a 6’11” outside hitter and 6’10” middle while displaying impressive kills and blocks throughout the match.
Coach Preston had similar thoughts about Western, describing them as polished and a team that always performs well on their home court.
To overcome these two teams, McMaster got huge performances from their veteran hitters, with Brandon Koppers, Danny Demyanenko, and Jayson McCarthy putting up a combined 53 kills over the two games. These three also contributed at the serving line, combining for nine serving aces.
As winter arrives, the focus now shifts towards the exam period, a break, and some non-conference friendly games. McMaster has only played six games so far this season, meaning the winter portion will carry a more intensive schedule. This means the team will rely on their non-conference play against teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association to stay focused and sharp.
Over the break, McMaster will take on NCAA no. 1 ranked Ohio State in the Burridge Gym on Dec. 30, and then travel to California on Jan. 3 for games against Concordia University and Pepperdine University to round out exhibition play.
McMaster has a lot to be proud of as they enter the holiday season, and a significant journey is still ahead of them. But one thing that will remain constant throughout is exciting volleyball as a staple in the Burridge Gym.
This team carries passion, drive, and enjoyment; three attributes that are difficult to create in a team, but offer something fun and exciting when they come together.