The Marauders men’s volleyball team knew that they would be in for a tough challenge on Friday night against the Ryerson Rams, and although the team was able to take down the Rams in three sets, Coach Preston believes that the Rams still gave them a hard time, especially in the second set.
“I think Ryerson did a pretty good job. I think it really showed in the second set, how much stress they could put us under … their middles really stepped up, and we didn’t do a very good job on that” said Preston.
The Marauders still managed to hold them off, however, by maintaining their concentration in the third set to come out on top with a big win.
This win came after a great start, which saw the Marauders get off to an early lead which made it easier for them to come out on top when it mattered most in the third set.
“I know for the first five or six minutes in the match, we kind of smothered them, we kind of shocked them,” said Preston.
Preston credits the performance and the shock factor for the Rams to his offence, particularly setter Austin Campion-Smith.
“It was our best passing match that we’ve had this year. So Austin Campion-Smith had his best offense available to him all night long, our passers did a ridiculously good job in that regard. So offensively, it was really, really smooth.”
Preston refers to Campion-Smith as the orchestrator of the team, as there are some key players in the match that score some big points, but Campion-Smith’s job is to provide them with a great pass which results in their points in the first place.
“The guy behind the orchestra, the conductor is Austin. He finds out what we’ve got, what they are doing, who is going to be open and then he goes with it. The good news is when he calls Jori’s number, Jori is ready to go. And when he calls Jayson’s number, Jayson is ready to go…He is a combined middle linebacker and the quarterback. He’s got to see everything, and execute it all. So we have prepped him pretty good.”
Campion-Smith called Mantha’s number often against the Rams, as Mantha was the leading scorer for the Marauders, getting up to a total of 14 points, which is something that Preston is not surprised by.
“He hit over .500, so he is serving so well right now,” said Preston.
“He’s putting tremendous pressure on the opponent, he is blocking; we had him matched up on their number one hitter, defensively in the back corner he is making the right moves, and the right reads, and he is our cheap viagra leader right now, he is our guy, he is our Big Mac,” added Preston.
The good thing about the team is also the fact that if Mantha has a bad game, there are multiple people that can fill in for that person – so it won’t be too much of a burden for the team in high-pressured situations.
“If for some reason he is not on, on a given night, other guys can step up, but Jori is being the leader that he wants to be right now. It’s nice for him to get the recognition because he has worked really hard,” said Preston.
The Marauders were able to take advantage of their offensive talent to come out on top against the Rams, and this is something they will have to bring into the game against Queen’s this Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Burridge Gym.
Preston has pointed out some key opponents that stand out on the Queen’s team, and are sure to provide the Marauders with a tough challenge.
“They’ve got three excellent read blockers in the middle, so they can shut down the middle of the court. Their libero is outstanding. He is a Bulgarian kid, and only second year but plays much, much older and more mature than that. So they are solid and really, really well coached,” said Preston.
This is something that the Marauders are prepared for, however, and Preston is very familiar with their style, having played the Queen’s Gaels several times in previous season match-ups.
“We are very, very familiar with Queen’s, we’ve played them a lot in the past, so we’re ready for the challenge, but the challenge will be big.”