The Waterloo Warriors have always been a team that has managed to give the Marauders a run for their money, and on Friday night in the PAC Gym in Waterloo, they finally came out of the contest with a win.
“Waterloo did exactly what we should have done and kept going. They took the fourth set, along with a boat-load of momentum, and at that stage it was like trying to stop an avalanche,” said Coach Dave Preston.
The Marauders best set of the match was the third set that saw them easily take it with a score of 25-13, which Preston credited to their defence.
“Our transition game was good, our blocking structure was good, I thought our defence in the third set might have been our best defensive set yet.”
After the third set, the Marauders began to let off a little bit, which ended up costing them the game.
The fourth set saw Mac give up a 20-16 lead, as they hopelessly watched the Warriors score nine of the next 11 points.
“It all started with us getting a little too soft at the back court, and a little too soft at the net. You can’t do that, not at the level that we want to play,” said Preston.
Preston and the Marauders have taken the Warrior comeback in the fourth set as a valuable lesson of what not to do going forward; they now know that they cannot lift their foot off the pedal and coast to win.
The Marauders had 48 hours to recover from their first loss, and in this time span Preston had a lot of time to work with the athletes and talk to them on ways in which they can improve.
“It’s really important to deal with the pieces, not the team, and all of my focus, all of my communication, all of my messaging was towards the individuals,” said Preston.
In his meetings with the players, he reinforced three questions: who are we, what do we do, and how do we do it.
The Marauders were able to respond to their loss on Sunday against the Guelph Gryphons, where they played exceptionally well and swept the match, 3-0.
Although the Marauders cannot erase the loss from their record, they have used it as a lesson for the future, and a sign of things to build upon for the remainder of the season.
“We’ve learned to handle winning very, very well. I now know that we can handle losing, very, very well as well. That’s not a lesson thankfully that we have to learn often, but it’s an important lesson,” said Preston.
Despite the loss, the Marauders are still sitting first overall in the OUA, and still have the best record in Canada of 15-1.
They won’t forget the loss—it’s a part of their season.
But Preston knows that his team will recover and react appropriately to it.
“I think the loss is part of our season. I think that failing to address it would be a mistake. So we’re going to react to it but not over-react. It’s part of making us who we are.”
The Marauders will look to keep their winning mentality alive next weekend in Kingston, Ont., where they will play against the RMC Palladins and the Queen’s Gaels.