Mac beats No.2 ranked Spartans
Coach Dave Preston made it very clear. He does not believe in the early CIS top ten rankings, and what they say about his team.
“Rankings are a coaching poll, I don’t believe that it’s a true indicator of our performance level…I don’t think that rankings define our team.”
The CIS top ten rankings are viagra mail order comprised by the coaches within the league that vote for the teams that they believe are the best in the country, but they cannot vote for their own team.
Preston takes the Marauders third-place CIS ranking to open the season as a compliment from the other coaches, but he is unsure of how they got to be ranked in third spot, especially without any extensive knowledge of the team’s performance, or play, other than their match against Western that they won 3-2.
“I think it’s neat that we’re kind of considered to be one of the top three teams in the country right now, but again it’s a popularity poll…We played Western, beat them in five, and got ranked third in the country…Like how does that really work?” added Preston.
Despite Coach Preston’s view of the inaccuracy of the rankings, this past weekend, they were able to pull off an encouraging win over the second ranked team overall – the Trinity Western Spartans.
In this match, the Marauders took the game in five sets (3-2), but in the fourth set, the game began to look extremely familiar to their game played the previous night against the first-ranked Alberta Golden Bears.
The match against the Golden Bears on Oct. 18 saw the Marauders down 2-1, holding a lead with a score of 22-17 in the fourth set, before the Golden Bears pulled out of the set 25-19. McMaster ended up letting the game slip away from them, which gave the Golden Bears the 3-1 win.
The following night, the Marauders saw themselves in the exact same scenario as the night before: they were down 2-1, the score was 22-17 in the fourth set, but this time, the Marauders did not let the game slip away.
“The captains on our team recognize the scenario, know that we didn’t take advantage of it before, and put a huge conservative effort to say we need to make sure we take advantage of it in this one, and did, and ended up winning the match in five” said Preston on the courageous win.
In order for the Marauders to have won the match against the Golden Bears in a similar fashion to the way they won against the Spartans, Preston believes that the consistency and repetition of good serving and passing during the game would have given them an extra push against the dominant team.
“It was our serving and our passing that I guess kind of eroded if you want to put a term on it,” said Preston.
“Alberta just showed how they are a little bit more repeatable than we are right now…we know that we can pass a good ball and our lesson right now is to make sure we pass a good ball as often as possible, and especially when it counts, and so that’s what I think the difference is between us and Alberta right now.”
The Marauders learned a lot from their trip, finishing with a record of 2-1 in the tournament, which also included their win against the host team, the Calgary Dinos, which was a reassuring defeat for the Maroon and Grey, as they now know early on that they can play well on the road and can upset the home team in their own territory.
“Beating Calgary, in Calgary, was pretty good…we can play on the road,” said Preston.
The team is also more determined from the tournament, and wants to get on the court as much as possible to win some more games, and to work out the preseason kinks.
“One of the things you’re always a little bit concerned about as a coach is what your motivation is coming home from an event like this. And I think we probably are a little bit more motivated now than we were before we left. So, that’s a good thing for us,” said the coach.
The motivation that is also present for the team stems from some of the veteran players, and the captains of the team that Preston refers to as the “leadership council” that have taken some of the rookies under their wing.
This leadership council consists of Austin Campion-Smith, Jori Mantha, Tyson Alexander, Alex Elliot and Danny Demyanenko – five experienced players that have helped out and have mentored some of the rookies early on this season
“Our leadership council is tremendously influential, and leadership is very important,” said Preston.
“Each one of them kind of grabbed two guys, and they just go, so instead of one guy kind of being at the front of the pack and everybody else behind him it’s almost like one straight line and going on mass.”
The combination of leadership, incredible offense, and solid defence is what has made the Marauders so successful in the past, and it appears that it’s this same combination that continues to make them successful so far this season.
Despite the very early success, Coach Preston still has questions for the team that he expects to be answered throughout the duration of the season.
For his defense, it’s a question of endurance.
“Can we play defense? Yes. For how long, and when it counts? Those are going to be the questions.”
For his offense, it’s a question of repetition.
“Is our offense good? Yeah. Will it be better, and repeatable when it counts? That’s the question.”
The Marauders will look to provide a response for these questions in regular season action, which takes off on Friday, Oct. 25 in Windsor against the Lancers, and on Saturday, Oct. 26 in London against the Western Mustangs.