Men's volleyball still undefeated
Coach Dave Preston is very aware that his team is ranked first overall in the country.
Although the ranking speaks measures of the sheer talent and hard work that the team has put in, Preston knows how the rankings can change so easily, and he knows that he and his team will not let the promising ranking effect their overall performance.
“For us, the ranking is an external validation of the work we are putting in,” said Preston.
“It doesn’t create any more pressure on us because we always wanted to be number one anyway. That’s our internal validation, so now, it just means that our internal validation and our external validation might be a little more in-line. But that could change this week, the coaches could change their mind and say that we didn’t beat York by enough so we’re going to drop to number 2. It doesn’t change our mind, we still want to be the best team in the country,” he added.
And right now, that’s exactly where the Marauders stand. They have the best record in the country, and they are getting recognized for it.
“You pay attention to what other people are saying, you recognize it, but it doesn’t change anything we’ve done. Just because other people think that we’re number one, we’ve thought that all along,” said Preston.
But the team did not just get there based on their talent. The Marauders are where they are now from hard work and determination, and they have been required to work especially hard within the last week, where they were either in practices, in matches, or traveling for long hours – so they had little time to recover.
“We are definitely working harder, last week was probably the hardest we’ve worked all season long,” said Preston.
“This week they have Sunday off, last week we went from Monday to Sunday with no break in between and Saturday off but we didn’t get home until four in the morning, so that’s not really a recovery day,” added Preston.
The team will have other weeks like this in the schedule, so this past week has prepared them for the meat of their season, where the challenges will be more difficult, and the team will reach their peak performance.
In the past couple of weeks, it seems as though the challenges have not been too big for the Marauders, as they have been able to pull out a total of seven straight-set wins so far this season.
Although this is positive for the no. 1 team, Coach Preston thinks that the start and finish are the best parts of the game for the Marauders, and what they need to improve on and capitalize on the most in their game is the middle, where they tend to let off a little bit.
“The start of our match was awesome. We are very, very focused and attentive. And the finish of our sets was awesome. We are trying to deal with the middle part right now, and maintain that for a longer period of time,” added Preston.
The Marauders will attempt to work on maintaining their overall power and determination in the start, middle and finish of their matches this weekend, where they will take on a notable rival, the Waterloo Warriors.
The Warriors have had a break in their season, with their last match played on Nov. 15, so their upcoming match against the Marauders in the Burridge Gym is sure to be a challenging one.
“They are very good, and they’re very well-rested. They have had a big break in their match schedule to get ready for us, so they’re going to be fresh and excited and motivated,” said Preston.
After the two games this weekend against the Waterloo Warriors and Guelph Gryphons, the Marauders will be taking a well-deserved break in the exam period, where each team member will have to sign up for a mandatory five, out of a potential nine, practice slots.
“We lift three times a week and really focus on active recovery of the physical training part of it, and we have these nine training sessions and they sign for five of them,” said Preston.
The major thing that Preston stresses they will be concentrating on in the exam period is active recovery.
“They’ve got to stay active and keep their body focused on the physical development of things, and not necessarily the technical or tactical stuff that is volleyball specific, so they could get up and get a work out in and then they could go to the library and study for seven or eight hours or whatever they’re going to do, but we’ve got to maintain that physical component.”
After exams, the team will be looking forward to a trip to Florida where they will face some talented Canadian teams, while getting the privilege to also practice with and scrimmage with some NCAA teams.
“We leave on the 28th and we play Calgary, Montreal and Waterloo, and then there are three other teams down there, but there’s four other college teams down there that we’re going to be scrimmaging with and training with,” said Preston.
Although the Marauders are heading into a big break before they get back to regular season action, head coach Preston knows that they will not need motivation in their time off, and will be back on track and ready to take down the Western Mustangs on Jan. 10.
“I think we’re going to be fine, I’m very, very trusting in where this team wants to go. This isn’t something that is mandated for them, this isn’t something that has been imposed on them, this has come from them, so I don’t think that they’re going to let it go, because they don’t want to let it go.”