Men's volleyball ranked first in the nation

Laura Sinclair
November 20, 2013
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

It was no surprise to the Marauder coaching staff when the Queen’s Gaels were able to catch up to them in the first set, and tie the score 20-20.

“It’s what we fully expected,” said head coach Dave Preston.

What was surprising to the men’s volleyball team was when they were able to dominate the second set, and come out of it a dominating score.

“The second set when we beat them 25-12, we didn’t expect that. We thought we were going to be in a dog fight most of the day. They’re very talented and very well coached, so we expected to have that tight scenario and it is kind of what we are looking for too,” added Preston.

When the Gaels pressured the Marauders in the first set, Preston saw this as a good thing. It is always good when the pressured situations require the team to step up to the plate, and to play to the best of their abilities.

“If we are capable of blowing a team out, that’s fine, and we did in the second set. But, I want to know that we can play in pressured situations, so it was good that they were tied at 20. As a coach, I can’t script that stuff, but it is good for us to know that we can play in a variety of scenarios.”

In this particular scenario, the Marauders were able to come out with a win in three sets – which is a statement of their dominance, and their overall skill level that has pushed them to be the No.1 team in the country.

Preston believes that the Marauders offense is part of what has made them so successful, especially in the game against Queen’s, with Austin Campion-Smith and Jayson McCarthy stepping up, along with the middles.

“I thought our offence was really good again, Austin Campion-Smith was really efficient and Jayson McCarthy was good on the opposite as well. Our middles are quietly punishing teams,” said Preston.

Preston was also able to rotate some fresh legs into the match, with Shayne Herbert and rookie Brandon Koppers being put into the mix to give some of the regulars like Danny Demanyenko, Tyson Alexander and Alex Elliot a bit of a break.

These two athletes were given some valuable minutes that will only benefit them for their future.

“We really work on trying to develop our entire roster because you are going to need it come playoff time. The matches get so condensed in January and February; things happen so fast. Rarely can you go through the meaty part of your season with seven guys, so we need that depth. And if we don’t get those guys the good experience, the meaningful minutes now, then we are not going to have that down the stretch,” said Preston.

Koppers and Herbert did a great job against the Gaels, and stepped up to fill the role of some of the more experienced players on the team

“The matches that were taken care of in November are going to pay dividends in February. Those are investments to get guys like Koppers in, especially in his first year against a solid top ten calibre team and playing those meaningful minutes so that when he is in there in February he is very much used to it. Same thing with Shayne Herbert, who has come in every single match and has done a tremendous job for us,” added Preston.

Along with the talented second string players, Preston also credits the Marauders Austin Campion-Smith, who won Big Mac Player of the game for his 35 assists against Queen’s.

Preston says that Campion-Smith stays composed and collected on the court, which is part of what makes him such a valuable team player.

“He just has such calming demeanour. We play the game very passionately, it is exciting. He’s the calm, and composed guy. As the guys are going off around him, he’s the tether. Although you can’t see that all the time, that is what kind of keeps us level. The guys could go off, Austin doesn’t let that occur.”

Preston also refers to him as “the brain” behind the Marauders, as he sees everything on the court, and knows exactly what to do in dire situations

“When other guys are playing checkers, he is playing chess. He is two or three moves ahead. He knows what he did on that last ball, but he knows what he is going to do with the next two or three balls already. He is that much more intuitive of what is going on. He is our brain. We’ve got muscle, and we’ve got heart and he is our brain”

Preston also credits the 6-0 run to the balance of the Marauders, and their ability to distribute the talent evenly amongst each other.

“We are not really reliant on a guy. We have had a number of guys who had stepped up in all six of those matches and our non-conference matches before. Steve Maar has been a guy who at times has just carried us, Danny Demyanenko, Alex [Elliot] and Tyson [Alexander]. We’ve spread it all around and so our depth and our balance is what has allowed us to be where we are at”

Where the Marauders are at now is the number one spot in the entire country, which is huge for the undefeated team that has surpassed the Alberta Golden Bears in the CIS top ten rankings.

The Alberta Golden Bears were able to pull off a win against the Marauders in preseason action, but have now found themselves in rough territory, with a 3-3 record.

The Maroon and Grey will look to keep up their 6-0 record, and keep their No. 1 ranking this weekend, when they will take on the Nipissing Lakers and York Lions on the road.


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