McMaster is back in the victory column after a sweep of the Lakehead Thunderwolves. The ladies took a trip to Thunder Bay, Ont. to take on the winless Wolves hoping to turn around a disappointing 0-3 start to their season.
The first set saw improvement in all areas of the Maroon and Grey’s play, with noticeably better service and passing to give McMaster an early lead. Lakehead would rebound to lead 16-12 at the technical in the first set, but the break would allow Mac to refocus. In a crucial rally, the Marauders dug up a ball off a double block and were able to tie the game at 18. Errors in both receiving and serving the ball from the Wolves handed McMaster the first set victory.
The second set would be another tight match to begin. Both sides would flex their muscles, most notably with Mac’s Kailee Stock unleashing on a ball to freeze the Thunderwolf defense. Stock’s kill tied the game at 9, but Lakehead would regroup and gain a 16-12 advantage at the technical. Mac would be forced to take another timeout shortly after when the second set seemed to be getting away after Lakehead took a 20-16 lead. But the decision from Coach Tim Louks failed to help the situation and McMaster dropped the second set 25-20.
In the important tiebreaking set, the Marauders seemed to have a fire lit underneath them and forced the Thunderwolves into an early 6-4 deficit. With Lakehead continuing their struggle to find a rhythm in third, and Maroon and Grey took a 9-5 lead. Blocking would be the story of the third, with McMaster putting together a strong effort at the net to give the team some quick and easy points. This time, McMaster would lead 16-12 at the technical and would maintain the lead until the end of the set. Staring at a five-point deficit, the Lakehead coaching staff called a timeout in an effort to rally the troops. Louks was able to keep his team on track and they polished off the third with a 25-20 victory and all the momentum heading into a fourth set.
Lakehead found themselves on the ropes, down 2-1 and staring into the face of another loss to start their season. This reality was evident in their play, starting the fourth with intensity to cause a back-and-forth opening to the set. After an early 5-3, the Thunderwolves could no longer fend off the Marauders, who began to distance themselves through defense at the net. With another lead at the technical, McMaster took their foot off the gas pedal and allowed the Wolves to narrow the margin, 18-17.
A timeout from Louks would be enough to revitalize the squad and closeout the Thunderwolves. The victory was the first of the year for the Marauders and the team would follow up the win with another the night after.
The following night, McMaster would have a rematch against Lakehead. This game would see a much more Mac-friendly result, with a Maroon victory in a 3-0 set sweep. The Thunderwolves came out flat in their defense of homecourt, giving up their fifth loss of the season.
Shannon McRobert was a major cog in the victory for McMaster. Her defense at the net gave the Lakehead offense fits throughout the night, as they were unable to beat her length. She finished the game with four solo blocks and three block assists to lead Mac to victory.
The women’s volleyball team will try to extend their two game winning streak this weekend. They’ll hit the road on Saturday to take on the 4-0 Ryerson Rams. The Rams have put together a strong 2012 debut, losing only one set in their four matches. On Sunday, McMaster will again head into Ontario’s capital city to face the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The Varsity Blues sit at 2-2 on the season. The team should get through the weekend with one win, but two wins is something the team is entirely of accomplishing. Both matches will be streamed on SSN Canada.