Despite their loss against the talented Ryerson Rams on Friday, the women’s volleyball team is in the midst of experiencing one of the greatest preseason runs for the Marauders in the past five years.
This is something that is very encouraging for McMaster, a team that is not used to this kind of success this early on in the season.
“As a team we have never done very well in pre-season. It usually takes us into the regular season to become very cohesive on the court,” said veteran libero, Melanie Walsh.
The team showed just how cohesive they can be however, bringing home the bronze medal at the tournament in Winnipeg, Man., and the gold medal at the Gee-Gee tournament in Ottawa.
“The team battled it out hard in Ottawa to bring home the gold and I think it really opened our eyes to our potential for the season,” said middle blocker, Taylor Brisebois.
The team carried this momentum to their games against the RMC Paladins, and the Waterloo Warriors at the McMaster Thanksgiving Classic on Oct. 10, which resulted in two solid wins for the Maroon and Grey.
These were just other confidence-boosting performances that sealed the deal for the Marauders pre-season and solidified them as a dangerous team heading into the regular season, which kicks off Oct. 19, in the Burridge Gymnasium.
“This year, the on-court chemistry happened so quickly” said Walsh on the recent win.
“It definitely builds confidence for us going into regular season knowing that we have already had success together”
The Marauders fell just short of the gold on Oct. 12, against the Ryerson Rams, who won the Thanksgiving Classic final in a 3-2 decision (28-30, 25-18, 18-25, 25-10, 11-15).
The match serves as a learning curve for the Marauders, as they will prepare themselves to face the Ryerson team again on Oct. 19, and this time, the goal is to pull out a win
“We are aware of what they bring to the table and are going to prepare the best we can in order to defeat them,” said Brisebois.
Brisebois, a third-year middle blocker, was injured in the tournament during the Waterloo semi-final match-up, and setter Kayla Ng was injured in the match against the Rams, which was a setback for the Marauders in the final game.
“While coming down from a block I was landed on by one of the opponents. After seeing a doctor it appears to be nothing too serious so hopefully I am fully recovered in about a week” said Brisebois on the injury.
“Kayla was also injured in the gold medal game with her first sprained ankle so hopefully in a few weeks she is fully recovered as well,” added Brisebois.
The Marauders will have to work through the injuries this Saturday afternoon when they will take on the Rams once again – a team that brings back memories of being knocked out of the OUA quarter-finals in February.
For Brisebois, there is a lot of tension in the match-up.
“There is definitely some tension for myself facing Ryerson because of last year’s quarterfinals, and with having friends on the team, and also being coached by Dustin Reid before, but it’s all in the spirit of the game and makes me even more excited to face them in season”
For Walsh, the match up will be one of recovery.
“There does not seem to be tension regarding the upcoming Ryerson match, just more of the want for redemption.”
The aforementioned match against Ryerson will take place, Oct. 19 in the Burridge Gym
As for the Ryerson Rams, Brisebois believes that they will be faced with some fierce competition against the Marauders squad.
“We are passionate about working hard and we don’t take losing lightly.”