Matthew Passalent joins SK Zadruga AICH/DOB as his first professional team after his tenure at McMaster

Before stepping on to the court as a member of SK Zadruga AICH/DOB, Matthew Passalent began his volleyball journey in the various volleyball camps hosted by McMaster Athletics & Recreation. As such, he fostered good relationships with the coaches there, so joining the McMaster University men’s volleyball team was not unfamiliar territory for Passalent. He described his transition as very welcoming.

In his first year on the McMaster volleyball team, he followed the guidance of the senior members. He watched many of their games prior to enrolling at McMaster — he looked up to them and modelled his game after them. 

“It was awesome to have the opportunity to practice with [the McMaster athletes], watch them play up close and get a good grasp on their mentality,” said Passalent.

[/media-credit] Passalent as a member of the McMaster Men's Volleyball team.

Passalent explained that he received more playing time and entered more of a leadership role as the years progressed. He recalled how during his fourth and fifth years, the rookies looked up to him in a similar way that he looked up to the upper-years during his rookie year.

“It was awesome to have the opportunity to practice with [the McMaster athletes], watch them play up close and get a good grasp on their mentality,” said Passalent.

Aside from playing as outside hitter for the team, his position varied from opposite to outside hitter. He did not receive much playing time during his rookie year; he played a few points at the end of matches. It was not until around his third-year Passalent started for the team.

“We have really good older guys, playing for Team Canada, the junior team, etc . . . It was really hard to crack a starting spot in your first or second year,” said Passalent.

“We have really good older guys, playing for Team Canada, the junior team, etc . . . It was really hard to crack a starting spot in your first or second year,” said Passalent.

Passalent recounts his biggest achievement during his tenure at McMaster was winning the Ontario University Athletics gold medal in his third-year. 

“It was a record of winning the OUA championship in six consecutive years. That was my third championship. It's really cool to be a part of the team and a part of history,” said Passalent. 

With regards to personal awards, he has the most pride for receiving the OUA West Player of the Year during his fourth-year.

“When my coach told me, I was really shocked because I was injured for most of the year,” said Passalent.

In winter 2019, Passalent and the team participated in the 2019 Can Am Holiday Volleyball Showcase in which teams from the United States and Canada competed against one another. Passalent recollected how this was a major downside in his career, having won no games at the invitational tournament. However, after playing in this tournament, the team bounced back with a major win against Trinity Western University, then the top team in U Sports.

Playing overseas has been quite different on the court for Passalent. He stated how many players come from different parts of the world while learning different techniques.

“I just thought it would be how I was used to in Canada. But we were doing drills I never heard of. It was really fascinating. It's definitely good to learn a lot,” said Passalent.

“I just thought it would be how I was used to in Canada. But we were doing drills I never heard of. It was really fascinating. It's definitely good to learn a lot,” said Passalent.

In fall 2020, Passalent joined SK Zadruga AICH/DOB in Austria to play for his first professional team. 

[/media-credit] Passalent as a member of SK Zadruga AICH/DOB.

“It was a completely different vibe. This town I was living in was very small. Everyone knew each other. You can walk to anywhere in town within 15 minutes. Being from such a small town, the team had hardcore, dedicated fans. It felt like a really great atmosphere at the few games I participated in,” said Passalent. 

Adapting to this new lifestyle was not as difficult as Passalent thought it would be.

“I found that I had to get into a strict schedule. I feel I had to keep eating and fueling myself, doing it at the right times. It's a grind out there. If you don't take care of your body, it will come back and punish you,” said Passalent.

As the team predominantly spoke English, Passalent did not run into many language barrier issues. 

“I found that I had to get into a strict schedule. I feel I had to keep eating and fueling myself, doing it at the right times. It's a grind out there. If you don't take care of your body, it will come back and punish you,” said Passalent.

A typical day for Passalent begins with waking up at 7:30 a.m., eating breakfast and then working out at 8 a.m. Afterwards, he would go grocery shopping to make a bigger breakfast and take a midday nap. Then, he would join the team for lunch followed by recreational activities, such as watching Netflix. Around 6:00 p.m., the team would practice until 8:00 p.m. Lastly, he would cook a large dinner and head to bed. 

[/media-credit] Passalent spikes the ball past Dinamo MOSCOW player in their first-round pool match of the CEV 2021 Champions League.

Before Passalent tore his rotator cuff this past October, he participated in four qualifying matches as part of the CEV Champions League for the 2020-2021 season.

“The pool we were in was tough. We were slated as underdogs. We had to play the third-ranked team and number one team in Russia,” said Passalent.

In his first game with the team, Passalent led the team in scoring as they captured a win. Despite this victory, the team lost the rest of their qualification matches. Passalent was only able to play in the first three until his shoulder injury occurred. He states that most likely he will need to get surgery, following a four-five month recovery time. 

[/media-credit] Passalent sends the ball over Neftochimik BURGAS in their first-round pool match of the CEV 2021 Champions League.

“Hopefully I see myself still playing volleyball but maybe in a higher-level league like in Italy, France, Germany or Turkey, as they also pay better money,” said Passalent.

While recovering from his injury, Passalent will actively seek out a new contract to head back onto the court, either with SK Zadruga AICH/DOB or a brand new team.

Photo C/O Noah Hoffman

The night of April 2 was the 95th Annual McMaster Athletic Awards Ceremony to celebrate Marauder excellence. The ceremony celebrated McMaster athletes and staff contributions on and off the court over the past year.

The highest honour, the McMaster Athletes of the Year, was awarded to Max Turek (Ivor Wynne Award) of the cross country team, and Linnaea Harper (Therese Quigley Award) of the women’s basketball team. Both led their team to Ontario University Athletics titles, and Harper went one step further, helping bring home the U Sports title for her team.

Graduating seniors Hilary Hanaka, starting guard of the women’s basketball team, and Andrew Richards, men's volleyball’s starting left side, took home the outstanding graduating student-athlete awards, the Dr. Edna Guest and Dr. Ray Johnson Awards, respectively.

Both athletes have displayed outstanding on- and off-court excellence. Richards and Hanaka had already been recognized by U Sports for their community work this season, so it was only fitting that they took home this honour as well.

McMaster's Rookies of the Year award the Mel and Marilyn Hawkrigg Award, was given to lacrosse player Mitch Pellarin and wrestler Ligaya Stinellis. Stinellis captured a silver medal in the 48kg weight class in her first trip to the OUA Championships, and made McMaster history by becoming the first Marauder woman to win the conference’s Rookie of the Year award.

Pellarin ended the season as McMaster’s leading scorer with 19 goals and 11 assists, which was the highest scoring total among rookies in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association.

Claudia Continenza, of the women’s soccer team, took home the Les Prince Award for her community service work, and women's hockey president and student therapist Laura Gelowitz won the Bruce Cochrane award for her service to the Athletics Department.

The Joyce Wignall Award, given to a team in recognition of their charitable contributions as a group, was given to the McMaster men’s rugby team for their various charitable efforts throughout the year.

Last night #MarauderNation gathered to celebrate a fantastic year full of great accomplishments by our student-athletes, both on and off the field. Here’s a recap of how the night went down! Thanks to all that attended! 🎉

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) April 3, 2019

The night of celebrating excellence was capped off by awarding 51 team MVPs from McMaster's sport teams at the varsity and club level, student-athletes who have competed for four seasons while maintaining good academic standing and coaches who have reached benchmarks in their years of service.

All in all, whether athletes had their their season cut short, or managed to come out on top as provincial or national champions, the annual Awards Ceremony once again rightfully honoured the hard work put in by all the various members of the Marauders athletic community over the past year.


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Photo by Kyle West

By: Graham West

Heading out to Kingston for this year’s provincial playoffs, Andrew Richards and the McMaster men’s volleyball team went up against the University of Windsor for their 15th-straight provincial semifinal appearance, and won, advancing to the finals.

Unfortunately, their championship bid ultimately fell short, suffering a heartbreaking loss to the hosting Queen’s University Gaels. Although the men’s six-year dynasty was broken, getting to the finals means they also have a spot in the national championship tournament, where they have another chance to go on the court and show everyone why they deserve to be there.

As regular members of the Ontario University Athletics Final Four under head coach Dave Preston for almost two decades, the team has certainly solidified a strong culture of winning.  Although, even with prolific numbers and success, Richards says this doesn’t play into their mindset, and that they choose to look at the season on a game-by-game basis.

“Whether it’s a lot of times hosting in a row, or a lot of times being in the Final Four in a row, I think our program does a really good job of not thinking about that too much,” Richards said. “We don't get too far into that because at the end of the day, it doesn’t help us perform on the court. The group this year is really tight and we’re really good at understanding that when we’re on the floor, all that matters is how we can help each other, compete hard and enjoy ourselves.”

The love of the game is one of the biggest factors for the team’s prolific success. Even so much as just being on the court means a lot to Richards and his teammates, making them fierce competitors as not many teams can match their passion.

“I think we’re lucky as student-athletes to even be able to play volleyball for McMaster,” Richards said. “So for us, we’re just thankful to play and have fun, and I know our hard work and all of our training throughout the year will help us get to where we need to go.”

Even though the team did ultimately lose in the finals, it’s only a roadblock on their way to taking on nationals, which has been a big focus for the team all year.

“I’ve found over my four years that the next two weeks happen really fast, so I think it’s easiest to break it up and take it game by game and enjoy things while you can,” Richards said. “Our team has higher goals than just provincials, so for us, it’s going to be crucial to refocus after every match.”

Richards emphasized the role that team chemistry plays in the success of the team, especially when it comes to being able to pick each other up when things are down. This is mostly due to the fact that the team is so close and knows each other so well. This is a key reason why they are such a tough group to get through for any competitor.

“Over my years here at Mac, we’re one of the tighter teams,” Richards said. “It’s easy for teams to play well and feel good about themselves when things are going well on the court and you’re winning, but I think when it really comes in handy to have a tight team and work through things together is when things aren’t going well.”

By earning a spot in the provincial finals, the Marauders have also clinched a place at the national championships. The men’s volleyball team will be one to watch during the national championships as they look to make a huge statement after provincials and certainly have the potential to take home the national gold.

On March 15 at 6:00 p.m., the No. 7 Marauders will take on the No. 2 Trinity Western University Spartans to kick-off the U Sports Final Eight. The Spartans are also coming off a provincial silver medal, losing to No. 1 Brandon University in the Canada West Championship.


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Photos by Kyle West

Tonight, Thursday Feb. 28, is the semifinal playoff game for the McMaster women’s basketball team and the rematch of the 2018 Ontario University Athletics Critelli Cup finals. Facing the Carleton University Ravens in Burridge Gym will be a nostalgic match, as the Ravens walked away with the Cup last year on the Marauders’ home court. Luckily for Mac, this year they are going to the semifinals as the third best team in the nation while the Ravens’ are seventh.


Ending the regular season 21-3, the Marauders earned their right to a first-round bye, and faced the Brock University Badgers in the OUA quarter-finals. Although the Marauders headed into the game with as much success as they did, the game was not as easy as they would have liked. After struggling for the first half, it was in the third quarter that the Marauders were able to break away and win the match 81-70.

Sarah Gates, who was chosen for the 2018 OUA All-Rookie Team after a strong rookie campaign, scored a whopping 28 points, shooting nine of 16 from the field and five of 10 from three-point range. Her performance was a testament to her overall season, even securing a spot on the OUA All-Star Second Team.

Senior Hilary Hanaka helped out offensively as always, scoring 12 points. Both Hanaka and Linnaea Harper, who sat out of the quarter-final game due to injury, were recognized as First-Team All-Stars.

For the Marauders, staying consistent and not letting the memories of the last Carleton-McMaster matchup get in their heads unless to fuel them, will be the key for the Marauders to return to the Critelli Cup finals once again.


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Photos by Kyle West

By: Graham West

Hard work, toughness and focus are the key elements that have led to Hilary Hanaka’s outstanding success at the university level. After recently achieving the milestone of 1000 career points, Hanaka is looking forward to a season filled with promise.

Hitting 1000 career points is a huge career landmark and it meant a lot to Hanaka, although she stressed the importance the team has had in contributing to her being able to achieve it.

“It’s a pretty big milestone to hit and it means a lot to hit that point,” Hanaka said. “But, of course it’s a team sport overall, so I think I’m more excited to figure out where our team will end up this season…  it's obviously nice to hit that point, but I obviously wouldn’t have gotten to this point without the help of my teammates and my coach.”

It has not always been easy on the path to greatness for Hanaka as there have been challenges with balancing academics and being a varsity athlete.

“There are positives and negatives. Coming into first year, that was when the big adjustment hit,” Hanaka said. “Obviously, it’s a much bigger time commitment being on a varsity team and having classes every single day, practices every day and you’re away on weekends and just making sure you find the right balance to do everything.”

“With that being said, you’re surrounded by an incredible group of girls, coaching staffs,” Hanaka added. “We have so much support through the athletic department, so whenever things were going downhill, you always had someone to pick you back up.”

Hanaka’s experience with the difficulties athletes can face and her expertise on the court are some of the things that make her a great leader. Being there for her teammates on and off the court is instrumental to the success of the team and something that is incredibly important to her as well.

“Off the court is just as important as on the court when it comes to varsity sports,” Hanaka said.

“Being a veteran player, I’ve been around for five years so I’ve been through most of the things that bring you down and that go on. So just being able to be there for the girls is something that I really strive to do.”

“Just knowing that I’ve been in the position of a first-year, second-year, third-year and even a fourth-year player and things aren't always fun and games there’s always going to be those lows,” Hanaka added. "Being able to make sure the girls are aware that I’m always there for them, whether it’s something basketball-related, life-related, school-related, whatever it might be, that just because I’m a leader on the court, doesn’t mean I can’t be the leader off the court. ”

Whenever Hanaka’s career as a player ends, it will most certainly not be the end to her basketball career. When you have a particularly knowledgeable player who is a natural leader, coaching is always on the horizon. It is something Hanaka is interested in, and given her success as a player, seems very possible.

“I would love to be a coach. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by basketball and it’s been a huge part of my life,” Hanaka said. “Being a player has been incredible, but I think I’m kinda ready to hang up the shoes and move forward. Hopefully down the road, coaching is something that I’ll be put into.”

Always one of the first people in the gym, Hanaka has had an outstanding career so far in the maroon and grey and looks to only improve. The team is one to watch as they continue to play their way to a return to nationals, with their eyes clearly set on taking home gold.


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By: Huphy Ghayer


Drivers will have to add patience to their new year’s resolutions. A new law requires drivers to wait until a pedestrian has crossed to the other side of a road before proceeding. This law applies to crosswalks identified with specific signs, road markings and lights, as well as crosswalks at stop signs or traffic signals with a school crossing guard present. Drivers will be fined between $150 and $500 for breaking the law.



A $5.60 cut has been put in place for students paying their own hydro bills. This tax used to go towards paying for old nuclear power plants. However, it has now been scrapped to put a little change back in students’ pockets.



With the arrival of winter, it is important to remember to stay safe while driving. A new law brought by the provincial government requires insurance companies to offer incentives for Ontario drivers to purchase winter tires. This provides an opportunity for students to replace worn out tires and ensure a safe winter commute.


58 grocery stores in Ontario are now licensed to sell beer. Smaller brands are legally guaranteed to occupy 20 percent of shelf space, but the brands are on offer will vary from store to store. In Hamilton you can spot the new item at the Queenston Starskys, Mall Road Fortinos, Rymal Food Basics and Queenston Fresh Co.




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