After defeating the Western Mustangs in five sets in the Ontario University Athletics championship, the McMaster women’s volleyball team will now head to the U Sports national championship from March 17-19, hosted by the Ryerson University.
As the winners of the OUA conference, Mac was rewarded with the number two seed in the tournament, and will play the Trinity Western Spartans in the opening quarterfinal match on March 17. The Spartans qualified for the tournament as the winner of the Canada West bronze medal match, defeating the University of British Columbia Okanagan in three sets.
“We are ready and excited to go [to nationals],” said fifth-year outside hitter Rebecca Steckle. “This is just the beginning of a hard, long road, but we are excited and it only gets better from here.”
Coming off of her Player of the Game performance, fourth-year outside hitter and OUA West First-Team All Star Joanna Jedrzejewska has expectations for herself and the team heading into nationals.
“I just want to show people around Canada that short people can do really well,” said Jedrzejewska, who stands at 5’7”. “I want to stand out, but at the same time I want to be a good influence on my team. I want to keep being a good team member. I don’t want to bring them down, I want to keep the positive energy and cohesion, and I just want to make my teammates better than when I found them.”
Even as the number two seed, their first matchup against Trinity Force will be tough. Coming from the Canada West conference, the Spartans have faced tough competition just to earn a spot at nationals. They are joined by the champions of the Canada West and the number one seeded Alberta Pandas, and by the third seeded University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The Spartans have a history of success at the national tournament, finishing second in last year’s tournament and winning it all in 2015.
Nevertheless, the Marauders’ tough win over the Mustangs has fourth-year middle Maicee Sorensen ready for her and the rest of the team to give it their all come nationals.
“I have really high expectations for this team right now,” Sorensen said. “We want to get everything we can out of this season. We have been playing all year not to just get to nationals, but to actually do something with our national berth. We’re back now, we’re older and much more experienced, I really think we can do something with this talent.”