Photos by Kyle West
By: Adriana Skaljin
Rebecca Maxwell, setter for the McMaster women’s volleyball team, is starting off the 2019 with perseverance and a new attitude. As a newer team, the first half of the season was spent trying to figure out how to work together. Now that they have had the chance to play with one another, they are entering the second half with confidence.
“The [influx] of new players brought a new dynamic,” explained Maxwell. “We have had great practices and it’s working. We have found our stride!”
Maxwell described how at the beginning of the season, they focused a lot on developing their team dynamic and skills, such as blocking patterns. Now that they are more comfortable with each other, they have a new mindset focused on pushing for the win and doing what is needed to perform at an Ontario University Athletics gold level.
“We want to win OUA gold and nationals,” said Maxwell. “This is the goal [towards which] we are working.”
Not only is this a new comeback for the team, but Maxwell is coming back from a serious injury as well. During the team’s third practice, Maxwell got a concussion which kept her from playing in the pre-season and the first couple of games of the regular season.
“I came back for one set during the last game against [the University of] Windsor back in November,” Maxwell said. “I am excited to be back in full force, now that I [have the clear] to play again.”
Coach Tim Louks has commended the women’s volleyball team on their performance thus far, as they perform to the best of their ability, resulting in an honest outcome.
“We are going forward fast,” said Louks. “We are building capacity physically and intellectually to contribute to our vision of winning.”
When asked about their toughest competitors going into the season, Maxwell explained how it changes every game.
“Any team that is across from us at that moment in the court is who we want to beat,” explained Maxwell. “There are shocking results across the board, so everyone becomes a good competitor.”
“You have to expect certain elements from certain groups,” added Louks. “This requires our ability to learn more and become better. [Therefore,] we are our own toughest competitor.”
On Jan. 13 and 14, the Marauders kicked off the new year against Windsor and the University of Western Ontario on their home court. The team went into the matches with an enthusiastic approach and a high level of determination.
“Windsor is a game that we want back,” said Maxwell. “We want to take that three-setter away from them. [The game against] Windsor is going to be a battle, because we know what they can do and what we can do. Our last game against Windsor gives us some confidence, and the loss against Western gives us motivation towards taking the win away from them.”
“A common question we get is, ‘are you ready?’ I think that we are as ready as possible which is important,” said Louks on the team’s readiness. “Western is a great opponent, so there could be some uncertainty in terms of results. We will need to turn it around in a day, after the game results against Windsor [the day prior].”
Unfortunately, a 3-1 loss against Windsor would result in the team’s fourth loss of the year; a tough way to reopen the season. The next day, the Marauders bounced back in a strong comeback-win against Western, winning 3-2.
— McMaster Athletics (@McMasterSports) January 13, 2019
It is this motivated attitude that will help push them towards the OUA and national championships, while proving that they are strong competitors.
It is certain that the McMaster women’s volleyball team will use their losses as motivation towards a strong second-half of their season, while continuing to build momentum off of their victories.