McMaster men’s volleyball team finishes strong in the second half against Waterloo Warriors
A fiery start for the McMaster men's volleyball team yields their fourth consecutive win
The McMaster University men’s volleyball team continues to impress. The reigning provincial champions and U Sports national contenders finished strong against the Waterloo Warriors for a perfect record of four wins and zero losses on Nov. 12.
The early season success comes with little surprise considering McMaster’s perfect regular season record the year prior and an experienced core unit with returning players such as outside hitter, Sam Cooper, and middle, Tyler Pavelic. Both players came up big in McMaster’s most recent four-set victory over the Warriors.
The Marauders swiftly won the first set by a score of 25-20. However, the team lost their initial momentum early into the second set. Despite fighting back from a McMaster time-out, the red and grey team lost the set 23-25.
“I think we started off strong, we were doing everything we said we were going to do. Second set, they came out firing and I think we let off a little bit. Right there, it was clear we had to switch it up,” said Pavelic.
With McMaster landing fewer defensive blocks than usual and a crafty Warriors offence, the team sought to make some changes. The Marauders were able to adapt with a few in-game adjustments and finished with a strong second half.
“After that set, I think we just picked [the energy] up, we just communicated more about what we needed to do before the whistle even blew. At that point, we were able to build some more momentum into that set,” explained Cooper.
McMaster won the third set by a large margin of 25-16 and ran with the momentum to a final set score of 25-18 for an emphatic finish. Cooper led the team’s offensive effort with 13 total kills or unreturned attacks. Pavelic finished with four defensive blocks and six offensive kills. Returning players, Maxime Gratton and Mateusz Wlodarski, also came up big on the offensive end.
Despite the perfect record thus far, the McMaster team remains level-headed. The team still has a long season ahead of them with 18 scheduled games, including two exhibition games against Long Beach State University.
“We’re trying to stay realistic. We’re obviously happy about our wins and that’s what we’re looking to do – win as much, secure as much home court advantage as possible – but also trying to keep the balance of not getting too cocky so we’re ready for any opponent. We prepare the exact same for every opponent that we take on,” said Cooper.
McMaster continues to level up their defensive and offensive strategies with a focus on high-ball attacking, service pressure, service reception, small-ball defence and block defence. With most of their games taking place over the weekend, the team can regroup and identify areas of improvement during the week.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to go undefeated so far. I think we just got to keep learning from our mistakes, what’s not going well and kind of fix it throughout the week and be able to execute it on the weekends so we can come out and continue on that pace run,” explained Pavelic.
There’s lots more in store for this McMaster team and its fans. Looking ahead, McMaster is on the road for two away games against Toronto Metropolitan University on Nov. 18 and Brock University on Nov. 20. The fan-favourite team will return on Nov. 25 for a six-game home stand.