The Varsity Blues men’s volleyball team headed south on the Queen Elizabeth Way to take on the lowly McMaster Marauders on Saturday. The 17-1 Blues came into this game hoping to send a message to the rest of the OUA:
U of T is set to capture the OUA men’s volleyball crown. They’re also looking to go to the nationals in Alberta with hopes of capturing a CIS Medal.
This was the last regular season game for the Blues, so it was key for the squad to use it as practice for the OUA playoffs. It was also a must win game for McMaster who, with a win against the seventh-ranked Blues, would qualify for the post-season.
McMaster got some promising news before the match when Blues star Marc Arseneau broke his thumb in practice, turfing him from the game. Arseneau did make the trip to Hamilton with the team and said he was optimistic he would be ready for the playoffs.
The rest of the squad was forced to pick up the slack from their injured teammate on Saturday. U of T wasted no time in taking a commanding lead with some powerful kills, and patented blocks. The Blues took the first set 25 to 20. Despite the lead, U of T did not look sharp in the first, but that would quickly change.
The second set started off much like the first. U of T took an early lead over the Marauders, and never look back. The Blues quickly disposed of McMaster in the second set, 25 to 19.
The third set was a mere formality. The Blues finished off the Marauders 25 to 18. McMaster mounted a late comeback but it came too little too late. After the game, coach Orest Stanko said that his team has to make certain improvements to improve.
“I was disappointed with the unforced errors that we committed in the final set,” said Stanko. “We must work constantly to fix these errors before we head into the playoffs.”
U of T secured the top seed in the OUA playoffs, and earned a first round bye and home court advantage. This will help the Blues heal some major injuries to key players.
Stanko believes that his team is ready to face the challenges of the upcoming post-season.
“I would be shocked if we did not win our 13th OUA championship,” said the confident coach. “After winning the OUA crown, we will definitely be out west in search of a CIS medal.”