By: Camila Stupecka
If the rest of the men’s volleyball final four teams played ice during the Ontario University Athletics final games, then McMaster played fire. They swiftly melted the flame of the Ryerson Rams on March 10 and the Waterloo Warriors on March 11, sweeping both squads and securing their fifth consecutive OUA championship to cap an undefeated regular season.
The conference title win matches the longest streak in OUA history.
Although a close second set against Ryerson could have planted a seed of doubt amongst fans and players, the Marauders succeeded in qualifying for the championship match against Waterloo the next night.
Mac dominated Waterloo, though head coach Dave Preston was not surprised by the result.
“Our preparation for that match was top notch, one of the best we’ve ever had,” said Preston. “Watching them [practice], I even said, ‘Wow. They’re ready.’ ”
The championship tilt had a bit of intrigue as Waterloo took the Marauders to five sets during the regular season.
“They’re the only team in the OUA to do so,” said fifth-year middle Danny Demyanenko. “They’re a really good team. Definitely the most challenging team to deal with in the [conference].”
Waterloo showed that the five-set loss from earlier was no accident, jumping out to a four-point lead heading into the first technical. After the early stumble, the Maroon and Grey steadied and completed the sweep, 25-21, 25-11, 25-21.
“Big things are about to come. We’re hoping for nothing but first.”
“I think we started off a little slowly,” said fifth-year outside hitter Jayson McCarthy. “But once we got into the groove of the game, I think everyone really stepped it up and once we started executing everything we wanted to do it all came together.”
The faces of the team as the final point was added to the score board that night were indescribable. Pride and joy came cheering from the stands as the whole team rushed onto the court, celebrating that final point that won them the gold medal match of the OUA championship game. While conference championships are something to be proud of, the team hopes this isn’t the last banner they’ll claim this year. Mac flew out to Alberta to compete in the U Sports national championship taking place March 17-19 at the University of Alberta.
“We have to put this one [against Waterloo] behind us pretty quick because we have a pretty big task in front of us,” said Preston. “You’re in a national championship now. Everyone in this tournament has good a chance to win it. All the teams are there for a reason. So are we.”
Mac is seeded fifth at the tournament and face an uphill battle to claim the program’s first-ever national championship.
“Big things are about to come. We’re hoping for nothing but first,” said fifth-year setter Andrew Kocur. “Nothing but first.”