McMaster women’s volleyball gears up for OUA playoffs
As the OUA postseason approaches for women's volleyball team, here is who to keep an eye on in the playoff journey
Another regular season has come and gone for McMaster University’s women's volleyball team. As spring approaches, the team enters the Ontario University Athletics playoffs sitting in fourth place.
The team managed to finish the season with an impressive 14 and six record. They faced losses from Toronto Metropolitan University, Brock University, Waterloo University, Western University and University of Toronto, but showed up big in other matches such as their sweeping wins against Nipissing University and Royal Military College.
As the team heads into the OUA playoffs, there is a lot at stake for the team’s veteran players. The core of this year’s team consists of many graduating stars, including three middle blockers Ellie Hatashita, Ana Strbac and Paige Vrolyk and setter Christina Stratford.
Despite the graduating class, the team has done well in incorporating its younger players. With a long and grueling regular season behind them, this is something that helped the team to be sitting comfortably in fourth place.
“All five of them first year players have been able to contribute in many different ways and all five of them have seen the court in an OUA game, which is something super exciting which doesn’t normally happen, especially in the sport of volleyball with only six on the court. The fact that all five of them have been able to contribute in different ways, it's super important not only for them but for the team in the future,” said Stratford.
Some of the team’s notable younger performers are Sullie Sundara, who leads the team in total kills, and Chayse Victoria who has given an impressive 162 assists this season. Along with help from veteran performers and rookies with experience, the Marauders look back at the regular season with pride, and are looking to continue strongly into the postseason.
“We’ve learned how to battle and we’ve never gone into a game thinking we had it. We knew we had to work. The reality was that we’d never have an easy way out. We’d have to be resilient and find a way to win,” explained Stratford.
The Marauders face the York University Lions in their first playoff match. The two teams are no strangers to each other, as they’ve met twice at The Burridge this season already. Both matches saw the Marauders beat the Lions in convincing fashion, winning three sets to one.
Though the teams have met during the regular season, this does not reflect the do or die nature of the playoffs. The Marauders must win to advance to the semifinals.
“Playoffs is a different game, we’re not going in like “oh it's York we’ll be fine". Our mentality is we’ve got to beat every team we see in front of us until we hold a cup. We’re treating every game as if it were a blank slate,” said Stratford.
Their fourth place finish gives the Marauders hosting rights over sixth place York in the upcoming game. The two teams will meet at The Burridge on Saturday Feb. 25 at 6:00 p.m. in a battle for the Quigley Cup.