Women's volleyball season off to rocky start
Despite a highly promising pre-season run, the McMaster women's volleyball team is off to a rocky start. The team pulled their first win last week against the Western Mustangs but lacked the momentum to keep their winning streak going when they took on the Toronto Varsity Blues at Burridge Gym on Nov. 2.
The game, ending in a heartbreaking score of 3-1, showed just how different the team is in comparison to the pre-season.
"We have different personnel right now. Our injury reserve is long and that's probably had the biggest impact on our season," said women’s head coach Tim Louks.
Even though they were missing a few key players, McMaster started the first set off strong, taking an early lead of 8-5. After a time out, Toronto started playing strong defense, and McMaster's momentum ended, giving Toronto a chance to take a 16-14 lead. McMaster was unable to catch up and Toronto took the set 25-21.
Toronto took the early lead of 7-5, causing the Marauders to try and fight back. Offensively, McMaster was a little weak with a kill percentage of -6.5% in the second set. Toronto continued to dominate the entire set, causing McMaster to pick up speed with a stellar block from Mira Krunic to make the score 18-12 Toronto. McMaster continued to fight, with no avail, as Toronto now led 2-0 with a set score of 25-17.
Toronto may have taken a lead of 6-4, but it was a different Marauders team that emerged during the second half of the third set. Toronto continued to lead but great defense and a huge hit from Maicee Sorenson gave McMaster the momentum they needed to turn the set around. Two consecutive aces from Player of the Game Joanna Jedrzejewska gave McMaster a lead of 13-12 for the first time since the first set. McMaster's inconsistent offense allowed Toronto to take back a lead of 17-14. Marauders take the lead just 3 points away from game point and are able to keep it up to take the set at 25-23, making the score 2-1 Toronto.
This set was a crucial one for McMaster, shown by amazing defensive skills that had not been present thus far in the match. Despite this, Toronto managed to take a lead of 5-0. The Marauders were giving their all on the court but it just wasn't enough as Toronto continued to lead 18-7. With things looking grim, the Marauders started playing aggressively with accurate passes, smart plays, and amazing combo blocks from Sorenson and Jedrzejewska. McMaster began closing the gap with a score of 22-14, but Toronto won the set 25-16, taking the game 3-1.
It became evident that consistency, momentum, and communication were needed to ensure wins in upcoming games.
"Probably the most significant thing is chasing our consistency," said Louks. "Volleyball moves so quickly point to point and each point can be dramatically different from the point before and the point after. That shapes our momentum differently. If we can get [the team] to focus and refocus more frequently, more consistently, that should help us in terms of playing each point independent of the others"
For the team, the rest of the season will be about finding their rhythm and playing a consistent game.
"We have to learn to finish sets and work collectively on the court. We need to bring what we do in practice into games and the main thing is just to communicate," said Maicee Sorenson, who had a phenomenal eight kills during the match.
The Marauders clearly have the skills needed in order to turn their season around, it's just a question of whether they can communicate on the court and keep momentum going through consistent plays.
"Every match for us is certainly a chance to be a little bit better and going into the matches this weekend, it will be a matter what personnel based on who's healthy and who's been practicing. That kind of information will have some effect, and then we can stabilize the consistent pieces of the games, so our serving and our passing," said Louks.
For McMaster, this weekend will be a test to what they can do as the McMaster Marauders take on buy soft viagra the Lakehead Thunderwolves at Burridge gym on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9, both at 6 p.m.